Americans Reject Proposed Expansion of Clean Water Act, Poll Shows

Washington, D.C.: A majority of Americans oppose the Oberstar/Feingold Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA), according to a nationwide survey by Wilson Research Strategies for the National Center for Public Policy Research.

CWRA will receive a hearing of the full House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at 11 AM today.

In the survey, 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 for and against the measure and asked if they favored or opposed the proposal.

54% of those with an opinion opposed the measure, while 46% favor it.  Among political independents, opposition was higher — 56% opposed, 44% in support.

“The Clean Water Restoration Act would submit nearly every drop of water in the United States to federal regulation,” said David Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research.  “It’s not surprising that the American people have great reservations about such a massive increase in federal power.”

The poll found a majority of Americans from all regions oppose the Clean Water Restoration Act, led by the Mountain States (62%), the Farm Belt (59%), and New England (58%).

“The Clean Water Restoration Act would be an enormous burden on farmers, ranchers, home and landowners and to business,” said Ridenour, “and also to boaters, hunters, anglers, shooting sports enthusiasts and other outdoor recreationists. If you think natural resources should be enjoyed, you can think again if this proposal becomes law.”   

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% at a 95% confidence interval.  Poll questions are available online at

The National Center for Public Policy Research has also issued a study, “Sportsmen: Beware the Clean Water Restoration Act,” and organized two coalition letters to Congress addressing key issues of public concern with the CWRA.  The study is available at; the letters at and


The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.