Congressman Jim Obertar (D-MN) wants to amend the Clean Water Act after almost 40 years by removing the word “navigable” when limiting federal jurisdiction. Stephen Hayes, Mara Liasson, Charles Krauthammer, and Bret Baier debate whether Oberstar’s measure would simply solidify current federal authority, or eliminate every last vestige of federalism and state sovereignty:
This could be an even larger threat to private property and federalism than the EPA’s decision to classify carbon dioxide as a pollutant. The original act specified “navigable” waters as the definition of the limitation for the Interstate Commerce Clause, a reasonable if somewhat still wide parameter. Eliminating that condition would put any body of water, no matter how small, under the authority of Washington — as well as the lands adjacent to it.
In Minnesota, which sends Oberstar to Congress, that would be just about every square inch of the state. Maybe his constituents need to consider that carefully before sending him back in 2011.