Jackson County Supervisors protest EPA bill

A bill in Congress designed to remove any doubt about what waterways the federal Clean Water Act is intended to govern has generated concern on the Coast.

Senate Bill 787, also known as the Clean Water Restoration Act, would take the word “navigable” out of the phrase in the Clean Water Act, which gives federal entities authority over “navigable water” in the U.S.

The idea would be to give the EPA, the Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies authority to protect all bodies of water.

But Jackson County supervisors said this week they disagree with a bill that might extend federal authority over any more water than it already governs.

Saying they fear the day is coming that they would need a federal permit to clean out county drainage ditches, they voted unanimously to oppose the bill, which passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last month.

The bill was introduced by a senator from Wisconsin and has support in New England and the West Coast, but it has yet to be up for a vote by the whole Senate.