U.S. District Court of North Dakota Chief Judge Ralph Erickson put a temporary hold on the EPA’s new water regulations on Thursday, but the EPA, an unelected and unelectable body of bureaucrats, has decided to defy the judge and move ahead on states that did not sue.
Except for the 13 states that filed the North Dakota lawsuit, The Clean Water Rule aka Waters of the U.S. rule is in effect as of August 28.
The EPA has assumed jurisdiction over ditches – ditches that flow from streams – tributaries, streams, and other small waterways. Every farmer, rancher, land developer and land owner is now subject to federal enrichment actions under the Clean Water Act if they have small waterways on their property.
More taxes, more regulations, more bureaucracy heaped on farmers, ranchers and land developers by an enormous, incompetent government agency.
The EPA says it does not interfere with or change private property rights but that’s all they do.
The EPA claims that all water is connected under the earth based on bogus studies which they are using to assume control over water on private property. Waterways are no longer defined as navigable under this rule, hence ditches can be controlled.
The EPA insists that the rule merely clarifies which smaller waterways fall under federal protection after two Supreme Court rulings left the reach of the Clean Water Act uncertain. Those decisions in 2001 and 2006 left 60 percent of the nation’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands without clear federal protection, according to EPA, causing confusion for landowners and government officials.
Of course this is legislating from a government agency and the only people who appear confused are the EPA bureaucrats.
Judge Erickson placed the hold because the “risk of irreparable harm to the states is both imminent and likely.” Because the judge did not say it applied to all the states, the EPA decided to enact it on the other 37 states.
“Delaying implementation to allow a full and final resolution on the merits is in the best interests of the public,” Erickson said.
To give you an idea of how the EPA operates, consider the case of Andy and Katie Johnson who faced fines and criminal penalties for building a pond on their property.
The EPA went after the family for violating the Clean Water Act and threatened Andy Johnson with civil and criminal penalties including fines of $75,000 a day.
The EPA claimed the Johnsons built a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. The EPA charges the pond discharges into other waterways. Johnson says it’s a pond to attract wildlife that is exempt from Clean Water regulations.
He didn’t build a dam, he built a stock pond but that’s irrelevant to the EPA.
Then there is the 2012 case of the landowner, Dexter Lutter of Noble County who thought he was cleaning up the water supply and creating a healthier environment for years to come. Instead, he faced hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines from the EPA.
A small, manmade open ditch ran through Mr. Lutter’s property in Noble County, Ind. It was in need of repair, and Lutter got permission from his county to place tile drains for the collection of the agricultural discharge and cover over the eroding open ditch. This not only saved county taxpayer dollars but also cleaned up the water supply and prevented further soil erosion.
According to Noble County and Lutter, they were told they violated the Clean Water Act. This is despite the fact that Lutter said the ditch was manmade and used only for agricultural discharge and did not impede the flow of any main waterways — usual exemptions under the Clean Water Act.
The EPA and Army Corps were no longer content just monitoring so-called navigable waterways which no longer means waterways that are navigable by a vessel.
It seems both the EPA and Army Corps are no longer content just monitoring activity in “navigable” waterways—as stated in the Clean Water Act, which has commonly lent itself to waterways where a vessel could in fact, navigate. These agencies seem to think they need to adopt a different interpretation of the law, which gets them another step closer to controlling all water in the U.S.
Mr. Lutter faced the loss of his business and was forced to pay an $11 thousand dollar fine, in the end, to get the EPA off his back.
The EPA now acts like judge, jury, and executioner.
The EPA is supreme over the courts, states’ rights, and Congress. Is this really what Americans want? Rule by agency? The EPA knows that if they get this rule through to even a small degree, it will soon become entrenched and there will be many more Johnson and Lutter families only they will have no recourse.