Say good bye to private property rights. The EPA is about to expand its regulation of U.S. waters, even the water collecting in your backyard.
On August 28, EPA gains the authority to regulate all U.S. waters. “Water” is defined as anywhere it’s wet, ranging from standing rain water on private property to dry places where water might flow once in 100 years. If this looks like EPA overreach for controlling more of the nation’s private and public property, it is.
It is called WOTUS, standing for “Waters of the U.S.” Recall that EPA expanded its powers by grabbing controlling authority under the Clean Water Act. A new interpretation of that law allowed further EPA overreach by redefining “navigable waters” to include “almost any piece of land that gets wet and puddles” in the words of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
RedState reports the rule appeared in the Federal Register on June 29 and becomes law on August 28, unless the 31 states that have filed federal-court motions can block the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers from enforcing the law.
It started when EPA took control of the Gold King mine in Colorado, then contaminated Southwestern waters downstream. The EPA will soon “protect” all waters of the United States. It matters none that while EPA controls, it pollutes, while throwing property rights down the same dustbin as the Constitution.
The law applies to all waterways across the nation. It applies to that koi pond the Mrs. wants the man of the house to install. It also applies to natural low spots where water might collect, such as dry ditches, creek beds, gullies, wetlands that forever remain dry in places like California where perpetual drought prevails by state legislation. Upon a big rain, homeowners can have ‘water of the United States’ in their back yards. Wet portions of private property are subjected to EPA rule.
If the law goes into effect, property owners must request permission from the EPA to build, do yardwork, in essence, to make any change at all to wet or potentially wet property, never mind that it’s private property. Non-compliance could incur fines up to $37,500 per day.
WOTUS is part of Obama’s plan for expansion of executive powers and that of the EPA to force through what he could not accomplish legislatively. An egregious overreach on EPA’s part results from such a ploy, apart from EPA’s potential to pollute the places it portends to protect. Take Gold King mine, for example.
EPA threatened the Gold King Mine’s owner with $35,000 a day in fines if he didn’t let the agency come onto his property to stop the mine from leaking. EPA’s grossly inept actions unleashed a toxic flash flood that contaminated Silverton’s Cement Creek, the Animas and San Juan Rivers, the Navajo Nation’s water supply and Lake Powell, the waters on which the vast Southwest depends for survival.
Texas Attorney General Paxton believes Obama effectively expands his personal power by expanding the power of the EPA to control every piece of property, private or not, that holds or ever holds any water at all. That ambition becomes EPA’s prerogative on August 28, resulting in power plant shutdowns, undermining the reliability the electric grid, and significantly higher energy costs for businesses and consumers — just what the nation’s Executive ordered.
It matters none that while EPA controls, it disables America at the administration’s beckoning.