EPA issues rule that will grab control of every drop that falls

This week the Environmental Protection Agency issued its final rule to “clarify” what waters of the U.S. are covered by the Clean Water Act of 1972, which was intended to limit pollution of navigable waterways, such as the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.

Under the new EPA rule the agency is seeking control over every stream, ditch or wetland that might eventually spill a few drops into any waterway that might occasionally be navigable with an inner tube.

Of course, the rule overreaches far beyond what Congress ever intended.

This would allow the federal government to require a permit and demand a fee for any work that alters the flow of water near any rivulet — anything from dredging an irrigation ditch to terracing a field — on public or private land.

President Obama declared, “Too many of our waters have been left vulnerable to pollution. This rule will provide the clarity and certainty businesses and industry need about which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act …” claiming the rule has been written to avoid harming farming, ranching and forestry.

Sen. John Barrasso is pressing a bill in the Senate, one that would specify the types of streams and wetlands that can and cannot be covered under federal law.

“Under this outrageously broad rule, Washington will have control over how family farmers, ranchers and small businesses not only use their water, but also their privately owned land,” Barrasso said in a statement, adding that “our bill that says yes to clean water — and no to extreme bureaucracy.”

A Wall Street Journal editorial points out just how sweeping and subjective the rule is:

“The EPA acknowledges that the ‘science available today does not establish that waters beyond those defined as “adjacent”‘ to these ‘significant’ waters should be regulated. But forget science. The agency says its ‘experience and expertise’ show there are ‘many’ other waters that could have a significant downstream effect. Thus the EPA establishes an additional standard for significance that covers just about anything that’s wet.

“So the new rule says the feds can also regulate waters within the 100-year floodplain and 4,000 feet of their claimed bailiwick or land features like prairie potholes and vernal pools that’“in combination’ have a significant effect. A pothole on farmer Dan’s land may not affect downstream waters, but the EPA could still regulate Dan’s pothole if regulators determine that prairie potholes collectively do.”

California canal (Getty photo)


16 comments on “EPA issues rule that will grab control of every drop that falls

  1. Winston Smith says:

    Fuckin’ control freaks!

  2. Steve says:

    This is how it’s done and those are peace officers.
    If only the feds could get a clue.
    “So you woke up stupid this morning?”

  3. Rincon says:

    So why is it so bad to pollute a navigable body of water, but perfectly fine to pollute one that has no boat traffic? Is it for the sake of the boats? I also want someone to explain to me how one can pollute a small stream without polluting the river into which it empties.

  4. Steve says:

    So,,,ANY bit of water NOT FULLY CONTROLLED by some agency of the federal government is polluted….NICE ,Rincon!

    OR am I mangling YOUR words now?

  5. Winston Smith says:

    It’s a matter of jurisdiction and delegated powers, Rincon. But you already knew that…

  6. Rincon says:

    Yes, you mangled my words, but the proper response is to merely point out your error, which in this case, is obvious to a ten year old. Did it occur to you that some unregulated bodies of water are clean just because there’s no source polluting them? In response to your apparent resentment to regulation of water pollution, I point out how foul our waters became with a lack of regulation. That was when rivers caught fire. Do you long for the good old days Steve?

    I notice though, that as usual, my questions remain unanswered. My questions also address Winston’s concern, but I’ll phrase it differently for him: How are jurisdiction and delegated powers different for a body of water with boats vs one without?

  7. Steve says:

    In response, Rincon runs to the insult. (10 year old)

    Concession, noted.

  8. Rincon says:

    I apologize for the insult. My question still remains unanswered and your error is still an error; therefore, I assume that you have no effective response.

  9. Steve says:

    No citation for your contention results in no answers.

    Assumption is always rawng!

  10. Rincon says:

    Do my questions involve any assumption? Please explain.

    You need a citation for asking what navigability has to do with pollution? Since they are fairly unrelated, I don’t think it’s possible.

    I also will certainly never find any citations explaining how one can pollute a tributary without polluting downstream.

    Rhetorical games yet again.

  11. Winston Smith says:

    Forgot to mention: More Agenda 21

  12. Rincon says:

    One can advocate prohibiting the EPA from nit picking in carrying out its functions, but I see no reason to adopt different regulations for bodies of water based only on their size. The Connecticut-sized dead zone in the formerly lush and productive coastal areas off of Louisiana provides a good example of many small bodies of water causing great damage downstream.

  13. Steve says:

    “You need a citation for asking what navigability has to do with pollution? Since they are fairly unrelated, I don’t think it’s possible.”

    You just answered your own question.

    As for the small stream or creek emptying into a large body of water….THAT is a matter of volume. It is measured in PPM.

  14. Rincon says:

    “You just answered your own question.”
    Yes and that answer means that your assertion was nonsense.

    PPM is a measure of concentration, not volume.( I thought I’d try a little rhetorical game myself, served up for your enjoyment).

  15. Patrick says:

    — Kaiser Aetna v. U.S., 444 U.S. 164, 100 S. Ct. 383, 389-90 (1979) – Congressional authority over the waters of this Nation does not depend on a stream’s “navigability.”

    — International Paper Co. v. Ovellette et al., 479 U.S. 481 (1987) – The Clean Water Act “applies to virtually all surface water in the country.”

    1. Waters definition use of the word “could” affect interstate commerce covers waters whose connection with Interstate Commerce is potential rather than actual, minimal rather than substantial.

    2. Requirement that a body of water affect “interstate commerce could be satisfied by showing that degradation or destruction of site would have affect upon migratory birds.

    The Clean Water Act has NEVER, been interpreted as being “intended” by Congress as being limited to those waters boats use for navigation.


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