Jordan Candler / May 28, 2015

EPA Expands Authority Over America’s Waterways

More than a year after initially proposing it, and despite efforts by congressional Republicans to block such a move, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, citing authority under the Clean Water Act, enacted a new rule that gives the federal government additional control over waterways. “The Obama administration issued a rule on Wednesday putting more small bodies of water and wetlands under federal protection to ensure clean drinking supplies,” The Wall Street Journal reports, a power grab that “is estimated to put about 3% more waterways throughout the U.S. under new federal jurisdiction.” Obama officials say they’re simply maximizing existing legal authority. According to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, “This rule is about clarification, and in fact, we’re adding exclusions for features like artificial lakes and ponds, water-filled depressions from constructions and grass swales.” However, the Journal adds, “The rule seeks to require those kinds of permits for only those waterways that have physical features of flowing water.”

And that’s exactly the concern, explains Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw: “The physical feature of flowing water? Depending on the conditions, the slope of the land and how much it rains on any given day, that could apply to pretty much anything.” Moreover, “People who own property adjacent to or including swampy areas with poor drainage can (and already have) run afoul of the feds if they want to improve the drainage to dry out a section for construction or just a better looking lawn.” As Mark Alexander wrote last month, Democrats, led by the powerful EPA, leverage environmental concerns to conceal their real agenda — the constriction of free enterprise. Their objective is to incrementally implement centralized economic control through regulatory requirements justified by ever-expanding “mandates.” In implementing its newest rule — “one of nearly 10 that the EPA is slated to complete in coming months,” the Journal notes — the agency is essentially saying, “Trust us.” That’s a dangerous thing to oblige when Liberty is at stake.

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