Earlier this week, I mentioned an NYT article detailing the concerns of a large group of farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, builders, and etcetera over the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent undertaking to personally revise the parameters of the Clean Water Act. The Act was originally meant to give the EPA the authority to regulate waters connecting to the “navigable waterways” of the United States, but as the EPA has steadily and aggressively tried to expand their jurisdiction over the years, they have had to deal with far too many bothersome lawsuits challenging their authority. Ergo, they decided to rewrite the rules to more clearly define exactly what bodies of water are within their regulatory power — and a bunch of lawmakers, lobbies, businesses, and private citizens are worried that the end result is going to be yet another massive EPA power grab that will make big government an even more pervasive and retarding for in commercial activity and on private property.
The EPA, of course, is scornfully dismissing these concerns and would really like for everyone to just calm down. After all, these bureaucrats are just trying to do their munificent “green” jobs, and as one lawyer in the aforementioned NYT article impatiently noted of the draft regulations leaked late last year, “The draft guidance is clear that irrigation ditches, drainage ponds and even groundwater are not considered waters of the U.S. Nor are gullies, rills, swales and other erosional features. This has been explained over and over again.”
Yes, I simply can’t imagine why any of these concerned groups think they have a reason to worry. Via Fox News:
All Andy Johnson wanted to do was build a stock pond on his sprawling eight-acre Wyoming farm. He and his wife Katie spent hours constructing it, filling it with crystal-clear water, and bringing in brook and brown trout, ducks and geese. It was a place where his horses could drink and graze, and a private playground for his three children.
But instead of enjoying the fruits of his labor, the Wyoming welder says he was harangued by the federal government, stuck in what he calls a petty power play by the Environmental Protection Agency. He claims the agency is now threatening him with civil and criminal penalties – including the threat of a $75,000-a-day fine. …
The government says he violated the Clean Water Act by building a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. Further, the EPA claims that material from his pond is being discharged into other waterways. Johnson says he built a stock pond — a man-made pond meant to attract wildlife — which is exempt from Clean Water Act regulations.
The property owner says he followed the state rules for a stock pond when he built it in 2012 and has an April 4-dated letter from the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office to prove it. …
But the EPA isn’t backing down and argues they have final say over the issue. They also say Johnson needs to restore the land or face the fines.
But those Clean Water Act revisions they say they have no intention of abusing? You should definitely just take their word for it.