Beware and be forewarned. The EPA is possibly going to get the final push to release the Clean Water Act guidance that they wrote last year from the White House in the very near future.
This is a dangerous bill that is challenging the historical levels of the Clean Water Act which was intended to give the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers authority over navigable waters. The problem is, you give some people an inch and they will take the streams and creeks in your back yard.
Be assured – this is a power play. This is something that will come back and haunt you. The government is already in food, air, energy and to some degree water. But this is an overreach that could easily have government people tromping around in your backyard. They will be able to tell you what you can use for fertilizer and how you can spray your yards to prevent ticks and mosquitoes due to potential run off. It won’t matter that those items are on the shelf at Wal Mart for your use – it will be, inevitably, the ability to completely manage and control another natural resource. One that you used to take for granted. Think I’m lying? Remember Central California and the Delta Smelt – the 3 inch fish that brought the largest farming area in our country to its knees. Did they care a whit about the issues caused by their rules?
How are they going to do this?
Simply by removing the word “navigable” from the Clean Water Act. Instead of only controlling the “navigable” waters of America – they will now be able to control – well – in their own words:
EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have submitted final guidance to clarify protection of waters under the Clean Water Act to the Office of Management and Budget for federal interagency review. The guidance will provide more predictable and consistent procedures for identifying waters and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act.
The guidance is focused on protection of smaller waters that feed into larger ones, to keep downstream water safe from upstream pollutants. The focus is also on reaffirming protection for wetlands that filter pollution and store water and help keep communities safe from floods.
The guidance will not extend federal protection to any waters not historically protected under the Clean Water Act and will be fully consistent with the law, including decisions of the Supreme Court. The guidance will also maintain all of the existing exemptions for agricultural discharges and waters, and also identify specific types of water bodies to which it does not apply – areas like artificial lakes and ponds, and many types of drainage and irrigation ditches.
But the first part tends to counter the second part, doesn’t it? When they say that they don’t want to extend the protection to waters not historically protected, but earlier state that it isn’t just navigable waters, but smaller bodies of water that feed the navigable water – they are doing just that. Extending their reach.
According to the Land Rights Network:
—–If the ban is lifted, when it rains, your backyard or farm
becomes a minefield of Washington red tape and taxes.
—–If you’re a farmer, when it rains, your backyard becomes a
bonanza for Washington, DC bureaucrats to go on your property to
force you from doing activities like building a swimming pool,
installing a bird bath, running rainwater away from your home,
irrigating your fields, installing stock watering ponds and many
—–If you’re a suburban homeowner, when it rains, the water in
your backyard allows Washington, DC bureaucrats on your property to
block you from doing basic things without a permit that can cost
thousands of dollars and long delays causing great damage.
—–Congress blocked attempts by former Congressman James Oberstar
(D-MN) and former Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) from passing the Clean
Water Restoration Act, which would have lifted the “navigable”
ban. As with the EPA and Corp, Oberstar and Feingold tried to remove
the word “navigable” from the Clean Water Act.
—–Despite Congress not changing the law, the Obama EPA and Army
Corps of Engineers are attempting to remove this key protection for
families, small business and farmers by issuing an internal guidance
document to agency bureaucrats telling them it is now OK to regulate
non-navigable waters on people’s property throughout the United
States. The Obama folks seem to care less
about how they are ignoring two Supreme Court decisions.
*—–Regulation through Guidance:* By issuing a guidance document as
opposed to going through the rulemaking process, EPA and the Corps are
bypassing the necessary public outreach required under the
Administrative Procedures Act and failing to fully consider the
legal, economic, and unforeseen consequences of their actions.
*—–Applies to all Clean Water Act (CWA) Programs:* In addition to
the Corps §404 dredge and fill permits, the guidance applies to all
CWA programs including §303 water quality standards, §401 state
water quality certifications, §311 Oil Pollution Act (including
SPCC), and §402 program (including NPDES permits, pesticide general
permit, and storm water).
*—–Increasing Permits: *EPA and the Corps affirm that this
guidance will result in an increase in jurisdictional determinations
that will result in an increased need for permits. In addition to
more Corps §404 permits, State and local permitting authorities will
be faced with more NPDES permits and more entities will be subject to
*—–Economic and Job Impacts:* Additional regulatory costs
associated with changes in jurisdiction and increases in permits will
erect bureaucratic barriers to economic growth, negatively impacting
farms, small businesses, commercial development, road construction,
energy production and local communities, to name a few.
*—–Impact on State on Local Governments:* Changes to the “waters
of the U.S.” definition may have far-reaching effects and unintended
consequences on a number of state and local programs. The guidance
creates significant unfunded mandates and preempts state and local
authority. The impact on local governments and the whole EPA Corps
permitting process will be substantial.
*—–Conflicts with Supreme Court Rulings:* The guidance uses an
overly broad interpretation of the /Rapanos /decision. The effect is
virtually all wet areas that connect in any way to navigable waters
are jurisdictional. Both the plurality opinion and Kennedy rejected
this assertion in /Rapanos/ Supreme Court Decision.
*—–Private Property Rights:* Expanding federal control over
intrastate waters will substantially interfere with the ability of
individual landowners to use their property.
*The legislation (S-2245) prevents EPA and the Corps from using this
/guidance/ to change legal responsibilities under the Clean Water