Is legislation needed to protect wetlands and solidify the government's authority under the Clean Water Act?
The White House and Democratic leaders are proposing legislation that would replace the term "navigable waters" with "waters of the United States," a move that they say is needed to restore the law's original intent of protecting wetlands, streams and other waterways. Proponents argue that a 2006 Supreme Court decision too narrowly interpreted the government's authority, confusing regulators and endangering the nation's ecologically important wetlands. But Republicans and business groups charge that the Clean Water Act legislation is a power grab that would expand federal control of private property, burden farmers and businesses, and override state authorities. Who's right?