EPA: Expanding our authority under the Clean Water Act is going to make everybody’s lives easier, we swear

posted at 7:21 pm on March 25, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

The Environmental Protection Agency has for awhile now been working on regulations to further — ahem — “clarify” the reach of their jurisdiction over the United States’ various bodies of water. A leaked draft report of the EPA’s proposal for granting more authority unto themselves had farmers, ranchers, and the energy and commerce industries up in arms over the possibilities for infringing on private property rights to micromanage even small and temporary bodies of water, and the draft’s official release this afternoon isn’t doing anything to dispel any of those business groups’ fears:

The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers unveiled rules designed to reverse the effects of the Supreme Court’s 2006 Rapanos ruling, which narrowed the government’s ability to enforce antipollution laws for smaller streams and bodies of water. The landmark ruling and other court decisions have hindered the government’s water enforcement efforts in recent years because of disputes over EPA jurisdiction.

The proposed rules would clarify which waterways are subject to federal antipollution regulations based on a scientific study on how discharges from certain classes of smaller bodies of water, including intermittent streams and wetlands, affect water quality downstream. …

The regulatory action may provoke legal challenges from several economic sectors, including the agriculture, construction and energy industries, because the rules could delay projects while permits are sought for dredging, filling or drainage in more areas.

“EPA has added just about everything into its jurisdiction by expanding the definition of a ‘tributary,’” said Kevin Kelly, president of the National Association of Home Builders. The organization said the regulations would greatly increase the number of construction sites that are required to obtain appropriate permits.

Our esteemed bureaucrats are waving away these concerns, claiming that the longstanding conservation exemptions for common agriculture and ranching operations will still apply, and that really, this effectively amounts to a cutting of red tape for businesses because the EPA simply wants to eliminate the uncertainty surrounding what is and is not a navigable water or wetland. …By, you know, expanding the definition of navigable waters and wetlands. Given the EPA’s recent history of using their federal regulatory hammer to  punish even private citizens for challenging alleged violations, I don’t think business groups or their Congresspeople are inclined to take the EPA at their word.

However, [Sen.] Vitter accused the EPA of “picking and choosing” its science while trying to “take another step toward outright permitting authority over virtually any wet area in the country.”  …

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, echoed those concerns, saying the change “could result in serious collateral damage to our economy.”

“[I]t appears that the EPA is seeking to dramatically expand its jurisdictional reach under the Clean Water Act,” she said in a statement. The senator added that the change could have a huge impact on Alaska.

“If EPA is not careful, this rule could effectively give the federal government control of nearly all of our state — and prove to be a showstopper for both traditional access and new development,” she said.


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And the Obama Administration will be the most transparent admin in the universe..

Electrongod on March 25, 2014 at 7:27 PM

…we need to tar and feather these people!

KOOLAID2 on March 25, 2014 at 7:30 PM

KOOLAID2 on March 25, 2014 at 7:30 PM

You are far to kind!

dmann on March 25, 2014 at 7:32 PM

Will America survive the next three years? Now that obama has nothing to lose, and only a handful in Congress are interested in controlling him, it’s going to be total slash and burn.

Pork-Chop on March 25, 2014 at 7:33 PM

If you like your private property, you can keep your private property, we swear …

ShainS on March 25, 2014 at 7:34 PM

Given the EPA’s recent history of using their federal regulatory hammer to punish even private citizens for challenging alleged violations, I don’t think business groups or their Congresspeople are inclined to take the EPA at their word.

If nothing else, this feckless and mendacious Administration should have proven that there is nothing about their word, including the and the the, that we should take.

Ronald Reagan once said that among the scariest words ever uttered were, ‘We’re from the government, and we’re here to help’.

With this Administration, that was never more accurate.

They see and use power as a means to an end – and do so with utter contempt and arrogance towards the American people.

Athos on March 25, 2014 at 7:35 PM

Blood sucking Vampire Squid.

VorDaj on March 25, 2014 at 7:35 PM

If EPA is not careful, this rule could effectively give the federal government control of nearly all of our state — and prove to be a showstopper for both traditional access and new development,” she said.

gee…you think ??????
its only what those evil teaparty and conservative people have been saying for a years, almost 2 decades for me.

dmacleo on March 25, 2014 at 7:35 PM

If you like your private property, you can keep your private property, we swear …

ShainS on March 25, 2014 at 7:34 PM

Think Sage hens private property.

CW20 on March 25, 2014 at 7:38 PM

I seem to remember that the original mandate of the EPA was to clean up industrial sites that were pollute by chemical dumping. How did we get from there to here? Talk about mission creep.

Kaffa on March 25, 2014 at 7:39 PM

pollute = polluted

Kaffa on March 25, 2014 at 7:40 PM

But did they pinkie-swear?

It really doesn’t matter. EPA is at least as prone to lying as The One himself is. And their staff is mainly composed of deep-green fanatics whose goal is the extermination of technological civilization, and democracy to boot. To be replaced by a “Green Utopia” run on primitivist socialist lines.

It’s not a coincidence that EPA coordinates very closely with deep-ecology nut groups. Most of their senior officials are members of same.

Imagine the reaction in the press if it turned out that the director of ATF was a member of the NRA board. By comparison, EPA employs people from Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and even further out in the ozone groups. And they’re the ones deciding what a “navigable watercourse” is, mainly on the principle of “F**k the Humans”.

clear ether

eon

eon on March 25, 2014 at 7:40 PM

Abolish the EPA

workingclass artist on March 25, 2014 at 7:41 PM

Only way to get control..C U T T H E F U N D I N G.

bluesdoc70 on March 25, 2014 at 7:42 PM

I’ve got 2 words for you, “Delta Smelt”. The environmentalists have already proven they have no problem stopping agriculture, irrigation, or the ground water supply in California. There is no reason to trust these people with anything that has an affect on our daily lives.

Please, please, elect a Republican Senate, to stop Obama in his tracks, and then a Republican President to reverse this stuff. Let’s face it, the inmates are running the asylum.

bflat879 on March 25, 2014 at 7:42 PM

Kaffa on March 25, 2014 at 7:39 PM

I may be wrong but it always seemed to me they exploded around the time the superfund sites started up around 1981 or so. seems to me they added tons of regs around then and ensured their own job security.

dmacleo on March 25, 2014 at 7:43 PM

I seem to remember that the original mandate of the EPA was to clean up industrial sites that were pollute by chemical dumping. How did we get from there to here? Talk about mission creep.

Kaffa on March 25, 2014 at 7:39 PM

It’s what bureaucracies do….expand like a virus

workingclass artist on March 25, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Abolish the EPA

workingclass artist on March 25, 2014 at 7:41 PM

That would be a good start.

Kaffa on March 25, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, echoed those concerns, saying the change “could result in serious collateral damage to our economy.”

Boy, that Meerskanski is a phucking genius. I’m totally dazzled.

msupertas on March 25, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Every body of water in the country has some effect on water ‘downstream’, including water in every bathtub in the country. Just as the CO2 we all breathe out is now determined to be poisonous, the water vapor carrying the CO2 will now be determined to be a ‘body of water’ and, therefore, to ‘regulated’ by the fascist gummint, resulting in a predetermined number of exhalations per minute permitted each citizen. Illegals will be able to breathe in and out as much as they please, which, automatically, will qualify them for a monthly check.

vnvet on March 25, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Boy, that Meerskanski is a phucking genius. I’m totally dazzled.

msupertas on March 25, 2014 at 7:44 PM

And she won a write-in vote in Alaska. I still can’t believe that.

Kaffa on March 25, 2014 at 7:46 PM

How would the EPA rule on emissions from aborted baby-fired heating furnaces?

Murphy9 on March 25, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Ok, the GOP has lodged its complaints but now, WTF are they going to do about it?

I’m sick and tired of the GOP griping about the excesses and overreach of the EPA but not doing a darn thing about it like, maybe cutting their budget.

Charlemagne on March 25, 2014 at 7:50 PM

Charlemagne on March 25, 2014 at 7:50 PM

At this point, cutting their budget is little more than a symbolic gesture. The budget is already done for the remainder of this fiscal year with the Ryan / Murray deal – and any effort to cut it via legislation will end up in Harry Reid’s office trash can.

What leverage the House GOP has are hearings and then ultimately filing suit against the regulatory overreach of the EPA – making the case that they are acting above and beyond the legislative authority that the Congress has granted them.

But with this Administration, the challenge is finding part of the Obama Administration that hasn’t engaged in regulatory abuses of power – or any evidence that the GOP House Leadership has the testicular fortitude to do more than just hold sham hearings.

The abuses of the EPA, along with the abuses of the IRS, should scare any and every citizen in this country. But beyond those of us who follow these things – the average citizen is unaware of the scope and depth of these abuses. That’s why the GOP leadership is little more than failure personified.

Athos on March 25, 2014 at 8:03 PM

It’s off topic, but a little article that I thought might be of interest. You might also enjoy some mood music(language warning) while you read this article. Whoa dig that hole, baby.

DFCtomm on March 25, 2014 at 8:04 PM

EPA: “If you like your property, you can keep your property”.

ajb3 on March 25, 2014 at 8:11 PM

oh bother, I didn’t realize ShainS already beat me to that one…

ajb3 on March 25, 2014 at 8:12 PM

Ok, the GOP has lodged its complaints but now, WTF are they going to do about it?

Charlemagne on March 25, 2014 at 7:50 PM

A resounding Harumph! should do the trick. They don’t want a solid *Harumph!* from the GOP.

Mimzey on March 25, 2014 at 8:12 PM

That’s why the GOP leadership is little more than failure personified.

Athos on March 25, 2014 at 8:03 PM

I’d like to see the GOP at least fight back. Win or lose. The dims yell and scream and fight every minor point e.g. don’t use the words “homosexual”, “bossy”, etcetera.

But the GOP does no fighting. In fact, when someone like Cruz or Palin does some fighting the GOP turns on them and attacks them along side the dims.

Kaffa on March 25, 2014 at 8:13 PM

Only way to get control..C U T T H E F U N D I N G.

bluesdoc70 on March 25, 2014 at 7:42 PM

60% budget cut sounds about right.

Kjeil on March 25, 2014 at 8:26 PM

I live on the edge of farm country, and I have hunted and fished a lot of private land. I can tell you the EPA is already a regular problem for landowners in two very specific ways: 1) They already claim jurisdiction over “wetlands” that are only conceivably ever going to be wet in the event of a 250 year flood, and 2) They routinely resort to arbitrary orders of compliance, forcing landowners to comply or face either huge fines or huge attorney’s fees, a lose-lose proposition.

The EPA wants to “clarify” the regs, essentially expanding their authority to every mud puddle in the country, because the EPA keeps getting its a$$ kicked for overreaching its authority when landowners have the grit and the resources to fight them in court.

novaculus on March 25, 2014 at 8:29 PM

What bothers me about the GOP is whenever they had the power to stop the EPA overreach they never did. Hopefully next time (if that ever happens again) they will summon the guts to do so.

William Eaton on March 25, 2014 at 8:35 PM

Abolish the EPA

workingclass artist on March 25, 2014 at 7:41 PM

.
That would be a good start.

Kaffa on March 25, 2014 at 7:43 PM

.
It’s the ONLY way to go.

listens2glenn on March 25, 2014 at 8:41 PM

The EPA wants to “clarify” the regs, essentially expanding their authority to every mud puddle in the country, because the EPA keeps getting its a$$ kicked for overreaching its authority when landowners have the grit and the resources to fight them in court.
novaculus on March 25, 2014 at 8:29 PM

If not defunded, then defanged somehow. That every citation is challengable and a calculus where harassment just for the sake of it has to be uneconomical. That the owner is innocent until proven guilty and any experts brought in by epa has to be reviewed by the defendant and possibly vetoed a la jury selection. And if epa loses triple damages/ fees to the defendent. This would incent lawyers to fight back on commission as with personal injury. Siccing the sharks against bureaucrats is always a good thing in this sense. The guilty polluters will come to justice while keeping the jackboots off the necks of the innocent.

AH_C on March 25, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Time to defund the EPA. Let’s see if they’ll work “for free”!

GarandFan on March 25, 2014 at 9:15 PM

Think Sage hens private property.

CW20 on March 25, 2014 at 7:38 PM

I’ve got 2 words for you, “Delta Smelt”.
bflat879 on March 25, 2014 at 7:42 PM

Oh, and this

60% 100% budget cut sounds about right.

Kjeil on March 25, 2014 at 8:26 PM

BigWyo on March 25, 2014 at 9:37 PM

Humans CAN effect climate change. The EPA Green Shirty have almost single handedly turned California’s Central Valley into the Sahara Desert. Thank you Green Shirts!!! If they can destroy a $26 billion industry in one valley, think of what they can accomplish with additional power and authority! (I cover my eyes in fear and trepidation!)

GREEN SHIRTS, GREEN SHIRTS UBER ALLES!!!

MaiDee on March 25, 2014 at 10:03 PM

more power concentrated in the central capital of moscow, oh i mean washington DC.

what could go wrong?

rich, washington urban liberals making decisions on what happens in flyover rural america.

sniffles1999 on March 26, 2014 at 7:38 AM

Wetlands are just that: wet land.

Not navigable waters.

Land subject to inundation is just that: land that gets wet during a flood.

100′ within reach of ‘navigable waters’ turns out to be entire watersheds when you include ‘wetlands’ and LSI, along with groundwater because, you know, that is just underground wetland.

Abolish this monster.

ajacksonian on March 26, 2014 at 7:40 AM

It won’t cost a dime
It will pay for itself
It will reduce the deficit
It will NOT cost people money
It will NOT cost people their jobs
It will NOT effect jobs, job growth…
It will not cause people to lose their property
If you like your land, you can keep your land
…trust us!

Fool me once, shame on me…
Fool me twice, and I am a stupid Liberal sheep who deserves to be ‘sheared’!

Time to rein in the government at every level!

easyt65 on March 26, 2014 at 8:19 AM

easyt65 The Government has issued all those lies and THEN some. Actually Lie#1 and Lie#2 are mutually contradictory. “It will pay for itself” means that it WILL cost a dime but that dime will be replaced (ha ha ha). More likely it will cost 300 billion more dimes and when this costly boondoggle fails it will be because NOT ENOUGH money was thrown at the “problem”.

MaiDee on March 26, 2014 at 8:41 AM

I say we sandbag the EPA offices next time it rains – to keep the water in, not out – and then declare it a wetland. Tear it down!

GWB on March 26, 2014 at 8:49 AM

…we need to tar and feather these people!

KOOLAID2 on March 25, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Or hit them with sticks.

magicbeans on March 26, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Our esteemed bureaucrats are waving away these concerns, claiming that the longstanding conservation exemptions for common agriculture and ranching operations will still apply, and that really, this effectively amounts to a cutting of red tape for businesses because the EPA simply wants to eliminate the uncertainty surrounding what is and is not a navigable water or wetland. …By, you know, expanding the definition of navigable waters and wetlands.

Oh, they want to cut red tape, all right. But they want to cut red tape for the EPA in their attempt to regulate business.

There Goes the Neighborhood on March 26, 2014 at 10:16 AM

The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers unveiled rules designed to reverse the effects of the Supreme Court’s 2006 Rapanos ruling, which narrowed the government’s ability to enforce antipollution laws for smaller streams and bodies of water.

OK, I’m late to this thread, and I’m probably being dense, but how in the name of sweet Fanny Adams can agency rules “reverse” a Supreme Court ruling?

Athanasius on March 26, 2014 at 10:27 AM

I’m just gearing up for the EPA to tell me to tear down my barn because after it rained recently it was flooded near the door. The ground is rock hard so the water stuck around for a couple of days, giving their satellite reconnaisance enough time to locate it.

The cows are not going to like it, but they’re an environmental hazard anyways.

NOMOBO on March 26, 2014 at 10:33 AM

but how in the name of sweet Fanny Adams can agency rules “reverse” a Supreme Court ruling? Athanasius

It doesn’t matter if the ruling comes from POTUS, SCOTUS, or Congress, when the government gets big enough MIDDLE LEVEL BUREAUCRATS CONTROL EVERYTHING–it starts off with allocation, prioritizing, distribution etc but eventually works its way into sub rosa policy making. This is especially true when no one authority figure at the top has any idea of the big picture (lawyers are good at fine print minutiae but not one of them has a clue about broad strategy.). The result is a theoretical government at the top making policies and a bureaucratic government in the middle not only carrying out these policies but continually amending it to suit their own purposes.

MaiDee on March 26, 2014 at 11:44 AM

The really disgusting part of this is that there are too many people in the US who will actually believe this blatant lie, or who simply don’t care because they think it will have no direct effect on them and their property.

s1im on March 26, 2014 at 9:59 PM