Democratic Representative James Oberstar, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has decided to defer introducing the Clean Water Restoration Act until next year due to heavy criticism from the GOP.
Oberstar’s proposed legislation would allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in conjunction with the Army Corp of Engineers, to protect and control all of the nation’s waterways, according to The Washington Times.
Currently, the EPA only monitors "navigable" waters that are large enough for ship traffic. The Clean Water Restoration Act would allow the government to regulate 20 million acres of U.S. wetlands and 59 percent of the nation’s streams that do not flow year-round, regardless of whether or not they are on private property.
The proposed bill has recently come under heavy scrutiny after reports surfaced that Oberstar would try to quietly pass the legislation through the House before the end of the year. Nearly 30 Republican Congressmen publicly criticized the bill in a letter written to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"The government wants control of all water," said Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo), quoted by Fox News. "That also means that they want control over all of our land including the private property rights of people from the Rocky Mountain west, the western caucus and the entire U.S.," he said.
Oberstar said he plans on introducing the bill in early 2010.