Obama Administration’s Proposed Water Regulation Also Would Make the Environmental Protection Agency the “Lord and Master of Private Land,” New Analysis Says
Landowners, homeowners, home builders, construction companies, farmers, ranchers, fruit growers, the forestry and mining industries, and just about everyone else engaged in productive activities in the United States are in the crosshairs of the most far-reaching power grab ever undertaken by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to a new analysis by Bonner Cohen, Ph. D., senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and senior policy analyst with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow.
In the name of “clarifying” the federal government’s regulatory authority over certain bodies of water under the Clean Water Act, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in March unleashed a torrent of proposed regulations that would give Washington final authority over land-use decisions from coast-to-coast.
The regulations cover “waters of the United States” and are commonly referred to as “WOTUS.”
In the analysis, “WOTUS: The Facts About EPA’s Wet Fiction,” Dr. Cohen points out that the EPA contends that its regulatory onslaught is necessary to clear up “uncertainties” arising from U.S. Supreme Court decisions from 2001 and 2006. Those rulings restricted the EPA’s authority and cast doubt over the legitimacy of its schemes to regulate wetlands and intermittent bodies of water.
“Despite losing both cases,” Dr. Cohen says, “EPA now claims that ambiguities in the rulings give it greater authority than ever before to regulate isolated and intermittent bodies of water on private land.”
Under the Clean Water Act, the EPA is authorized to regulate “navigable waters of the United States,” such as rivers, bays, channels, etc. But under the guise of “clarifying” its power, EPA is seeking to effectively delete the word “navigable” from the statute, allowing the agency to expand its writ far beyond congressional intent.
Dr. Cohen’s analysis notes that staffers on the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee have rated the following six claims about WOTUS by Obama’s EPA as “NOT TRUE”:
• The EPA says WOTUS does not apply to ditches. (Not true.)
• The EPA says WOTUS will not regulate activities on land. (Not true.)
• The EPA says WOTUS will not apply to groundwater. (Not true.)
• The EPA says WOTUS will not affect stock ponds. (Not true.)
• The EPA says WOTUS does not require permits for normal farming activities, like moving cattle. (Not true.)
• The EPA says WOTUS does not regulate puddles. (Not true.)
In fact, Dr. Cohen says, Obama’s EPA is granting itself the power, under certain circumstances, to regulate:
• Activities on land including homebuilding, agriculture, ranching, and mining;
• Stock ponds on farms and ranches;
• Traditional agricultural activities, such as moving cattle; and
“If the proposed regulations are allowed to go into effect,” Dr. Cohen says, “the Obama EPA and the Corps will become lord and master over millions of acres of private land in the United States.”
Bonner Cohen, Ph.D., is Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and senior policy analyst with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow.
The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Susquehanna Valley Center.
Nothing contained here should be considered as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation.