After Lobbying, Wetlands Rules Are Narrowed

More thanks to those enablers who elected the Bush mob to rape and plunder our fair land.

Tongass Rainforest

After Lobbying, Wetlands Rules Are Narrowed:
New federal guidelines for enforcing a key Supreme Court ruling could have a profound effect on how water laws are applied. After a concerted lobbying effort by property developers, mine owners and farm groups, the Bush administration scaled back proposed guidelines for enforcing a key Supreme Court ruling governing protected wetlands and streams.

Environmental advocates said the policy adopted in the June guidance reflected the concerns of developers and polluters and could have a profound effect on how federal water laws are applied.

“There are definitely waters that will not be protected because of this latest guidance,” said Navis Bermudez, a water policy analyst at the Sierra Club. “The final guidance is clearly weaker than what we saw in the September guidance.”

The draft guidelines, leaked to environmental groups by someone within the government, allowed officials to look at the impact of dredging or discharge of pollutants on a wide region or watershed, potentially putting millions of acres of land adjacent to streams and wetlands off limits to industry, agriculture and development. Lobbyists for these groups immediately raised objections.
Oh, I bet they did. And of course, since secrecy is so important to the current gang of thugs occupying the White House, FOIA requests were the only way to even learn of the lobbying.

Beer Money at the MCA

Virginia S. Albrecht, a prominent Washington lawyer representing property developers, wrote to the White House in September to express concerns about the breadth of the proposed rules. Among her chief objections was that the rules as written would allow the government to regulate development over a wide region even if the impact on a stream or swamp of a proposed project was highly localized. Ms. Albrecht also said projects should be reviewed case by case to see if they met the tests set out by the Rapanos decision.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Alliance Coal, one of the nation’s largest coal producers, also weighed in on the proposed guidelines, expressing concern that the new rules would affect temporary drainage ditches and “ephemeral” streams that appear only after heavy rain.

The Sierra Club, Earth Justice and other environmental groups concerned about the new rules obtained their communications with the White House under the Freedom of Information Act.

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This page contains a single entry by swanksalot published on July 5, 2007 11:42 PM.

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