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The EPA’s Water Power Grab: Lawmakers Can Use the Appropriations Process to Stop It

No legislation contrary to the Constitution is a law (or a rule)

No legislation contrary to the Constitution is a law (or a rule)

Editor:   A Constitutional Congress would defund the EPA and all the other alphabet soup agencies without Constitutional Authority To Exist…  Constitutionally sound Governors & Legislators would refuse to cooperate with these unconstitutional agencies taking note that only Congress can write laws, or regulations with the force of law, and even then it is NOT LAW when not in pursuance to the Constitution.

As Congress figures out what policy riders, provisions in appropriations bills that prohibit or direct the use of funds for certain purposes, will be included in any omnibus appropriations bill, there are several that should make the list, including one to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from using funds to implement their water rule in fiscal year 2016.

What the Rule Would Do

The EPA and Corps finalized a rule that would seek to define what waters they can regulate under the Clean Water Act. The rule is so broad that it could regulate almost any water in the country. This includes everything from certain man-made ditches to “streams” that are dry land most of the year, except when there’s been heavy rain.

Under the Clean Water Act, you might be “polluting” even if you just kicked sand into a water covered under the law (a “jurisdictional water”). As more waters are deemed jurisdictional due to this rule, property owners will be forced to secure more permits to engage in ordinary activities, such as farming.

Permits cost a lot of money and take a lot of time to secure. Many property owners may not have either.

Furthermore, the final rule is so vague that property owners may not even know they could be violating the law if they don’t secure a permit. For that matter, many people in the EPA and Corps wouldn’t know someone is violating the law. The rule is so subjective that proper compliance may be determined at the whim of the agencies.

Everyone wants clean water. Not everyone thinks this specific rule giving the EPA and Corps unprecedented power is the best way to have clean water.

It isn’t just farmers, government, and big businesses that will be affected. Sackett v. EPA offers one egregious example of overzealous regulatory enforcement. In this 2012 Supreme Court case, the EPA threatened a couple with fines of $75,000 per day for placing gravel on virtually dry land to build a home in a built-out subdivision– without a hearing.

If this wasn’t bad enough, this case was before the final rule was finalized. The rule will almost certainly lead to more Sackett-type abuses because more waters will be deemed jurisdictional, compliance will be even more difficult, and the EPA will be emboldened by having these broad powers codified in regulation.

Doesn’t Opposing the Rule Mean You Oppose Clean Water?

The EPA would have you believe that opposing its rule means you support dirty water. In a completely inappropriate campaign to gain support for its rule, the agency posed the question “Do You Choose Clean Water?” trying to equate the rule with support for clean water and, by implication, opposition to the rule as support for dirty water.

Everyone wants clean water. The difference is that not everyone thinks this specific rule giving the EPA and Corps unprecedented power is the best way to have clean water. If prohibited from implementing this flawed rule, the agencies could…

 if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.


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