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A Democratic congressman is seeking to strip the word "navigable" from the 1972 Clean Water Act to allow the Environmental Protection Agency to surpass the limits imposed by a 2001 Supreme Court ruling on the kinds of waterways the agency can regulate.
That word typically is interpreted to refer to any body of water that is "deep enough and wide enough to afford passage to ships."
But Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., who worked on the 1972 legislation as a Capitol Hill staff member, said he is trying to restore the original intent of the law.
"I know what it means and it says the purpose of this act is to establish and maintain the chemical, biological and physical integrity of the nation's waters," Oberstar said.