Barack Obama has issued a new order, and this time he’s coming for property owners with water or ditches on their land.
The “Waters of the United States” is supported by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers and is meant to clarify what bodies of water are protected by the 1972 Clean Water Act. The details of this rule are due to be released this week, and critics say that they fear that it could potentially include all types of water on a person’s property.
“Property owners will not be able to engage in activities they should be able to engage in,” said Daren Bakst, a Heritage Foundation researcher. “This will be devastating to private property rights. It’s an attack on private property rights. Most people don’t have the money to pay for all these permits.”
The Obama administration, however, says that the rule is for environmental purposes only.
“Protection for about 60 percent of the nation’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands has been confusing and complex as the result of Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006,” read a blog post written by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Assistant Secretary of the Army Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy.
“We’re limiting protection to ditches that function like tributaries and can carry pollution downstream — like those constructed out of streams,” they added. “Our proposal talked about upland ditches, and we got feedback that the word ‘upland’ was confusing, so we’ll approach ditches from another angle.”
The new rule states that “tributaries” or any impression in land that could potentially fill with water would be regulated by the government. The EPA claims that even temporary bodies of water like ditches could run off, transporting pollutants to large bodies of water.
“It’s not uncommon for an agency to broadly interpret language, but based on court precedent, it is going way too far in exceeding what it is allowed to do,” Bakst said.
If the rule goes forward, it will directly conflict with 2001 and 2006 Supreme Court decisions that denied expansion of the Clean Water Act’s jurisdiction.
Obama can’t seem to stay out of his citizen’s business, can he? We can only hope that this plan does not go forward…
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