The Environmental Protection Agency has been exercising its muscle in trying to take control of virtual all water supplies in the United States, including those on private property. In the process, they are making it difficult to near impossible for land owners to use their property if the EPA finds as much as a bucket of water on it.
In the western US, numerous land owners and municipalities have been told they can no longer use their wells for water as they are tied into groundwater that may drain into a stream, river or lake elsewhere. Tombstone, Arizona is a prime example of how the EPA and the Obama administration have cut off the town’s main water supply.
Now the EPA is using the Clean Water Act to seize control of lands throughout the country, often in violation of law and the Supreme Court. In the early 2000’s, John Rapanos wanted to build a shopping mall on his land in Michigan. Some of the land was swampy, so he drained it and filled it in so he could build. Even though he was 20 miles away from a waterway that was designated as ‘waters of the United States’, the EPA told Rapanos that his property was navigable because it was connected to a tributary that flowed in to the waters of the US. They levied millions of dollars in fines against him and ordered him to return the land to its original state.
Rapanos took the case to court only to have a lower court rule in favor of the EPA, but they did reduce the fine to $5,000 and ordered him to serve 3 years of probation. He appealed and the case ended up in the US Supreme Court who ruled in 2006 to overturn the lower court’s ruling. In a 4-1-4 vote, the court ruled that isolated waterways such as that on Rapanos’s land are not considered ‘water of the United States.’
The result of the Supreme Court ruling led the EPA to start looking at any waterway that connected in any way to a larger water source to be considered to be navigable waters and thus become controllable by them via the Clean Water Act. In so doing, the EPA is designating ditches and gullies as navigable waterways. This includes irrigation and farming ditches as well as any along roadways. By defining them as navigable waterways, the EPA is then using the CWA to control the land that borders the ditches and gullies.
Besides the thousands of landowners, farmers and ranchers that are up in arms over this, a number of politicians are as well. There are bills in both the House and Senate to address this measure and limit the power of the EPA. Rep John Mica (R-FL), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said,
“Never in the history of the CWA has federal regulation defined ditches and other upland features as ‘waters of the United States.’”
“The Obama administration is doing everything in its power to increase costs and regulatory burdens for American businesses, farmers and individual property owners. This federal jurisdiction grab has been opposed by Congress for years, and now the administration and its agencies are ignoring law and rulemaking procedures in order to tighten their regulatory grip over every water body in the country.”
“But this administration needs to realize it is not above the law.”
Mica and 63 other Congressmen, both Republicans and Democrats, have cosponsored a bill to restrict the questionable reaches of the EPA. This bill was passed by committee last week and will soon move to the floor of the House.
The Senate has a similar bill which is cosponsored by 26 Republicans only. The Senate version specifically spells out that roadside and agricultural ditches will be excluded from being defined as navigable waterways. The bill also defines several other exceptions.
In announcing the Senate bill, Sen John Barrasso (R-WY) stated,
“President Obama’s EPA continues to act as if it is above the law. It is using this overreaching guidance to pre-empt state and local governments, farmers and ranchers, small business owners and homeowners from making local land and water use decisions. Our bill will stop this unprecedented Washington power grab and restore Americans’ property rights.”
“It’s time to get EPA lawyers out of Americans’ backyards.”
The general consensus of those cosponsoring both bills is that the EPA is ignoring the jurisdictional limits that were established in the 2006 Supreme Court case as well as a 2001 Supreme Court case.
If you ask me, this is further evidence of the Obama administration’s attempt to seize all property and place it under the jurisdiction of the federal government. This is what Marxist governments do. They confiscate all privately held lands so that everyone is subject to the dictates of the federal government. That also goes with Obama’s drive to re-distribute the wealth. They take your land, your money and your investments. Everyone becomes a slave to the state.
This is why it is so important to get Obama out of the White House in November and he can take Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Lisa P Jackson, administrator of the EPA appointed by guess who, with him to the unemployment office.