The Obama administration on Wednesday claimed unprecedented power over this nation’s waterways; laying claim to all of America’s creeks, wetlands, rivers, lakes, and yes even ditches and ponds.
Through the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corp of Engineers the Obama administration says they have the authority to control all U.S. waterways – and they plan to use this power to claim control and authority of even the smallest body of water on private land.
Under the new EPA regulations, which were unconstitutionally granted by President Obama, The EPA has decided that it can regulate isolated wetlands and ponds on private lands and in farmer’s fields by designating them “regional treasures.”
“We’re finalizing a clean water rule to protect the streams and the wetlands that one in three Americans rely on for drinking water. And we’re doing that without creating any new permitting requirements and maintaining all previous exemptions and exclusions.” EPA head Gina McCarthy told reporters Wednesday.
While some hardcore environmentalists may think these new powers are a good thing, even some Democrats are trying to stop the Obama administration’s bizarre power grab. Three moderate Democrats in the Senate and 24 in the House have joined the Republicans in opposition.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works (EPW), warns that the EPA’s final rule on the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) represents an “unprecedented land grab” of private property – and says he “will not allow it.”
“This makes it more important than ever for Congress to act. Last month, I stood with a bipartisan group of Senators to unveil S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, to rein in EPA’s attempt to use the Clean Water Act to expand federal control over land and water. Sen. Dan Sullivan, Chairman of the Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife Subcommittee, held a legislative hearing on the bill last week that underscored the importance of keeping the focus of the Clean Water Act on clean water and called out EPA’s attempt to use the rule as a tool for habitat protection. The EPA has set themselves up to increase federal control over private lands, and I will not allow it.
“Our committee is planning for a markup on S. 1140 this summer, as we continue our work to halt EPA’s unprecedented land grab and refocus its job on protecting traditional navigable waters from pollution.”
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said:
“EPA’s attempt to redefine ‘navigable waterways’ to include every drainage ditch, backyard pond, and puddle is a radical regulatory overreach that threatens to take away the rights of property owners and will lead to costly litigation and lost jobs. The House is committed to fighting back against this radical policy, which is why we passed bipartisan legislation earlier this month to stop the EPA in their tracks from moving forward with this misguided proposal. It’s time for President Obama’s EPA to abandon these radical proposals, all in the name of protecting wetlands and waterways, that instead will only lead to more American jobs being shipped overseas at the expense of the American economy.”
EPA & Obama’s Power Grab for Private Land
This is something that I have been writing about for quite some time. Over the last couple of years I’ve covered a number of stories on how the Obama administration and the EPA have used the Clean Water Act to take land from private property owners.
By redefining the term “Waters of the United States,” the EPA has essentially laid claim to all private land, and can seize that land by government order.
From the story of the story of Chantell and Mike Sackett, a couple who were harassed and fined off their land after the EPA claimed their dry land was actually wetland, to the Obama administration seizing the entire town of town of Riverton, Wyoming, this abuse of power was already in full swing even before these new rules officially to hold.
The Pacific Legal Foundation, a leading litigator in support of property rights and balanced environmental regulations, warns the new regulatory rule would vastly expand federal Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction in a way that goes beyond the limits of the law and the Constitution.
“Today, the Corps and EPA released a new rule that would vastly — and illegally — expand federal regulatory power under the Clean Water Act through a practically open-ended new definition of the term, ‘waters of the United States,’” said PLF Principal Attorney M. Reed Hopper.
“Under this new rule, the only waters that are clearly not subject to federal regulatory power are the few that are exempted or expressly excluded from the Clean Water Act, including artificial reflective pools, ornamental waters, ground water, and gullies, non-wetland swales, and puddles,” Hopper noted. “In the wake of this new rule, prudent lawyers would have to advise their clients that unless the waters or ditches on their land are exempt or expressly excluded under the letter of the Clean Water Act, they may be subject to federal regulation.”
American Dream of Land Ownership is now an American Nightmare
Sadly, these types of abuses have been happening for years; and it’s not just the Obama administration that is killing the American dream of Land Ownership.
From a WWII vet who was forced out of his 88-year-old family owned grocery store; to the heartbreaking story of Andrew Wordes, who took his life after code enforcement teams seized his home; to the Off-Griders in California who were threatened with arrest for daring to live an off the grid lifestyle, these stories highlight how out of control these bureaucrats have become at every level of government.
Our basic Constitutional rights are being shredded right before our eyes, and the once great American Dream of owning your own little piece of land is quickly becoming an American Nightmare.