American Elephants

The EPA’s Enormous Land Grab by The Elephant's Child

unofficial-stream-small-custom-e1339556645568The EPA  has just finalized one of the biggest land grabs in American history.

Just reprimanded by the Supreme Court, the EPA is anxious to try their luck again. Under the Clean Water Act, the EPA was  granted the authority to regulate the navigable waters of the United States to see that they remained clean.

Under the Clean Water Rule, all  “tributaries” will be regulated by the federal government. Broadly defined, which they intend, this means  anything moist that eventually flows into something that can be defined as a “navigable river,” including the roadside ditch above, and even smaller trickles.

Under the same rule, the word “adjacent” is stretched from the Supreme Court’s definition of actually “abutting” what most Americans regard as a real water of the United States to anything “neighboring,” “contiguous,” or “bordering” a real water, terms which are again stretched to include whole floodplains and riparian areas. Floodplains are typically based on a 100-year flood, but a separate regulation would stretch that to a 500-year flood.

And, finally, under the rule, the EPA cynically throws in a catch-all “significant nexus” test meant as a shout out to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion in Rapanos v. United States when, in fact, the EPA’s rule makes a mockery of Kennedy’s opinion and of no fewer than three Supreme Court rulings.

Under the three approaches, no land or “water” is beyond the reach of the federal government, never mind the traditional understanding of private property or state and local control of land use.

Farmers, ranchers, dairymen and everyone in rural America are in panic mode. Not only does this rule allow the EPA onto their land, but it throws wide open to environmental group-led citizen lawsuits that promise to go far beyond what the EPA envisioned. Citizen lawsuits are controlled only by the rule. The rule carries with it fines to the tune of $37,500 a day. The EPA has a habit of imposing fines big enough to scare the accused  of whatever violation into immediate compliance.

I grew up very rural, and I’m sure city people cannot imagine the havoc this rule could cause. Although here in the Seattle area, a good portion of our lawns could be considered wetlands for a portion of the year. It rains a lot, and there is runoff. Farmers and ranchers spend a significant amount of time ditching, or controlling the flow of water where it is not wanted.

The goal of the Environmental Protection Agency has little to do with the environment, but only to do with how environmental regulation can be used to further their political goals of control, ending private property, and bringing on the utopia where everyone is, at last, truly equal. Well, except for those in charge, of course.

4 Comments so far
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I began to understand environmentalists when they started cutting down a 150 year old woodland near us because they deemed the area to be “bog”. Yes there was bog nearby, but the reason it was bog, was because the deer that used to shelter in the woodland would eat the young saplings on the bog.

So very soon the whole bog will be turning to trees – and which point these nut-cases will define all the trees as unnatural and cut them all down.

None of it makes sense – until you realise that our money is now going to pay some environmentalist to keep clearing the trees, which before the environmentalists came along was done for free by deer.


Comment by Scottish Sceptic

Sounds about right. My skepticism comes from growing up outdoors in the foothills of the Rockies on 400 acres and a couple of miles of riverfront. We had winters with 5′ of snow on the level, and mild winters where we only had a couple of feet. I can remember going to the movies 35 miles away and having to walk in front of the car so we could tell where the edge of the road was. Just a normal winter. Rural people are not apt to accept the global warming scam. It’s city people who live in apartments whose entire experience of the outdoors is summer camp and stopping at a viewpoint on the highway.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

And that this is about control – no question of that, everythin this administration does is about gaining control – begs the question; what are they controlling? What is the standard for “normal”? What is a “normal” temperature? In the Sceptic’s example, where is the “natural” tree line? They are operating on the idea that any deviation from some arbitrary standard is bad and must be controlled.

Which serves as the basis for the perfect scam; take something that can’t be controlled, and persuade people that somehow YOU can control it (or in the case of the Democrats, just say more money needs to be spent to find a solution). Knowing that there IS NO real solution to the “problem” (which isn’t really a problem in the first place), they just spend the money however they see fit. And all of this is premised on the idea that we poor simple humans don’t understand what’s happening and cannot protect ourselves from the bad things in the world – condescending paternalism at its worst.


Comment by Lon Mead

[…] absurd “Waters of the United States” regulatory overreach. The idea, was a massive power-grab by the Obama EPA that gave the federal government effective authority over millions of acres of […]


Pingback by EPA Director Scott Pruitt Moves to Rescind the Absurd “Navigable Waters of the United States” Rule | American Elephants

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