New EPA Rule Gives Feds Authority Over 'Nearly All' Water

By Craig Bannister | May 2, 2014 | 1:33pm EDT
The federal government would bypass Congress and contradict the Supreme Court to seize jurisdiction over vast amounts of private property, if a new rule is put into effect, 231 congressmen warn in a letter urging the heads of the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to withdraw the proposal.

The proposed rule would use the Clean Water Act to assert jurisdiction over water on private property, even man-made ditches, the letter warns:

"On March 25, 2014, the (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released a proposed rule that would assert CWA [Clean Water Act] jurisdiction over nearly all areas with any hydrologic connection to go downstream navigable waters, including man-made conveyances such as ditches."

The current rule gives CWA jurisdiction over only "navigable" waters.

The new rule "aggressively expands federal authority under CWA while bypassing Congress," the letter warns.

The rule also contradicts past Supreme Court rulings, the letter notes:

"This would directly contradict prior U.S. Supreme Court decisions, which imposed limits on the extent of federal CWA authority."

"By deciding that essentially any area containing water should be regulated by the EPA, this rule would impose more unnecessary federal regulations on many of Eastern North Carolina's private property owners," warns Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC) in a statement opposing the rule.

"This burdensome regulation would be imposed with little to no benefit for the environment.  This is a bad rule, and the administration ought to withdraw it immediately," Rep. Jones says.

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