From the April 2008 Idaho Observer:

Majority of Americans reject federal water grab

Bills were quietly introduced in the House and Senate last year to expand federal control of water from navigable waterways to all water above the ground, on the ground (and the gound that seasonally has water on it) and underground (The IO, Feb., 2008). It appears that the feds are poised to take control of all the water in America—and the people don’t like it.

WASHINGTON, D.C., PRNewswire—A majority of Americans oppose a proposal to expand the Clean Water Act, according to a new nationwide survey released March 6, 2008, by the National Center for Public Policy Research. The proposal, the Clean Water Restoration Act (CRWA), has been introduced by Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) in the House of Representatives and Russell Feingold (D-WI) in the Senate. Voters were informed the Congress is considering a measure that would expand the areas covered under the Clean Water Act, including to areas that are only intermittently wet. They were then provided brief arguments both pro and con on the measure and then asked whether they favored or opposed the proposal.

Fifty-four percent of those expressing an opinion oppose the measure, while 46 percent favor it, according to the survey. Among political independents, the margin was greater, (56 percent against and 44 percent for)

"Americans reject the key feature of the Oberstar-Feingold proposal: Namely, that waters need not be navigable—nor even be waters—to be subject to federal regulation," said David Ridenour, vice-president of The National Center for Public Policy Research.

"It is significant that independents, who are increasingly seen as an important barometer of national mood, reject Oberstar-Feingold by a whopping 12 percentage points."

The National Center’s survey is the second poll released in less than a week to find that a majority of Americans oppose CWRA. A poll released last week by the Western Business Roundtable found that 63 percent of Americans oppose the measure and 47 percent strongly oppose it.

The National Center poll found a majority of Americans from all regions oppose the proposed expansion of the Clean Water Act, led by the Mountain States (62 percent), the Farm Belt (59 percent), and New England (58 percent). "These results are not surprising given the enormous, negative implications the Oberstar-Feingold proposal would have for farmers, ranchers, hunters, and outdoor enthusiasts," said Ridenour.

The poll was conducted by Wilson Research Strategies, which surveyed 800 registered voters who are likely to vote in the 2008 presidential election. The poll has a margin of error of 3.46 percent at a 95 percent confidence interval.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational foundation established in 1982.