New EPA rules may reclassify the meaning of “water”

Image: Joan Bryden

No one wants dirty water, but at a time when our economy is struggling, why is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pursuing new rules on water which place greater restrictions and financial penalties on law-abiding Americans? The new rules reclassify the meaning of water and expand government intrusion onto private lands.

According to a report in the Washington Post, at issue is the definition of federally protected waters. In March, the Environmental Protection Agency pitched new rules meant to clarify and expand its regulatory reach under the Clean Water Act to include small streams, riverbanks, wetlands and floodplains.

Gina McCarthy, the agency’s administrator, has defended the proposal, saying that it would not significantly expand the department’s authority to monitor and regulate waters.

However, when these new regulations now give the federal government regulatory control over dry washes that run through private lands, there is something certainly amiss.

You have to wonder, why do we even have a Congress and representatives when a government agency can institute insidious regulations with impunity — and with no regard to the economic impact or intrusion into our private lives?

Small business owners and some lawmakers warn the new rules will subject farmers, ranchers, homebuilders and other entrepreneurs to complicated and potentially costly new regulations that were written with other industries and other purposes in mind.

Rancher Jack Field has a small stream running through his pasture from which his cattle drink. Under the new rules, the stream may qualify as federally protected water, requiring a new permit for use of the land and “opening me and my ranch up to significant liability,” he said during a hearing last week before the House Small Business Committee. Permitting means paperwork and that means money to apply for the permit and fines if found not in compliance. And it seems the financial penalty is substantial, at $30,000 a day

I sat on the House Small Business Committee and can attest that it is a truly one of the few bipartisan committees (the repeal of the Obamacare 1099 form requirement is an example). Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said the rule “threatens to drown small businesses in unnecessary regulatory requirements,” and called the revision one of the most “expansive and potentially damaging” proposals the panel has examined during his four-year tenure leading the committee. On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) described the rules as an “abomination” and “a power grab for private property.”

So the question for Gina McCarthy and Barack Hussein Obama has to be, why is this necessary?

The Obama administration is in the business of overloading the American people with lawlessness to the point of exhaustion. Our elected officials seem incapable of stemming the tide of all these irresponsible actions by an administration — and a president — hell bent on disregarding and disrespecting the rule of law.

That’s why the midterm elections of November 2014 are vital to the existence of this Constitutional Republic. This administration does not believe in fundamental constitutional principles of coequal branches of government, checks and balances, or the legislative process as opposed to executive and regulatory fiat. But then again, Obama did tell us he would “fundamentally transform” America.

53 COMMENTS

  1. This is not the fault of the EPA, this is the result of Congress not doing the job they asked for and was elected to do. It is time that Congress do their job of oversight and rein in these agencies running amok.

    • They are doing their job, it’s Obama empowering departments like this with over reaching ability. Every time Congress turns around ie Republicans they are having to pass new legislation to stop BS like this. The left wing agenda scours thru every loophole they can find and use it every way imaginable. Congress 30 yrs ago didn’t have to fight constant issues like this. Heck 20 or even 15 yrs ago.

    • The EPA must be leashed. Any proposed EPA regulations should be sent to congress for debate and enactment as law if beneficial.
      All current EPA regs should be posted on the internet for public perusal and comment.

      • The EPA must be dismantled, board by board, brick by brick and the officials held for treason.

  2. This administration has got to stopped. More disintegration of the fundamental core of our country..be afraid America.

  3. Even if the Rs get control of the Senate, unless they are willing to fight to defund the EPA, there will be no difference. And they have shown no willingness to use their budget powers to defund Obamacare so I don’t expect them to do anything about the EPA either. There are not enough Lees, Pauls, Cruzes, Gohmerts, etc. Basically, we are screwed.

    • The reason the Republicans are not willing to fight is because no matter what they pass in the House, they know with 100% certainty that the Senate will not. And, in many cases Reid won’t even bring the bills to the floor. You cannot waste taxpayers dollars on bills that have “zip” potential for passage. That is why it is imperative to get Republican control of the Senate in November. I am willing to bet you will see a lot more getting brought to the floor and to be voted on. If not, then I will have to agree you are right. Right now, I believe that my thoughts are why nothing is being done. Pray that I am right.

      • The Senate GOP Leadership has been told by the Chamber of Commerce to Fix not repeal Obamacare, Boehner can’t wait to give the illegals Amnesty and the GOP Establishment wants Jeb in ’16 with Jeb, Common Core becomes unstoppable — as does some ugly UN treaties..

        I’m terribly afraid you’re wrong

      • I’ll pray you are right but I think you are wrong. 1. Forget Reid, the Rs eviscerated Cruz when he tried to stop funding for Obamacare. Why do you think they will change? 2. Obama will veto any bill he does not like so controlling the Senate is not the answer with current R leadership. The only way to stop the madness is to shut the government down and the current R leadership has already shown they don’t have the mettle to do it.

      • I pray but can almost assure you that Republicans do not undo things, they just blame someone else for it but when they are in power, they like all of these rules and regulations because it gives them power. What we need is an outsider patriot to clean up that mess.

  4. When our property and rights are usurped and removed it may well become necessary for the people to remove those public servants responsible. At gun point if our politicians refuse to act.

  5. Typical of the barry admin’s over reach. Whatever they can do to take away private citizens property and rights is what they are after.

  6. Col. West, the EPA requires family farmers to notify them when they cut their drains through rowed fields in eastern NC. If there is a cat tail or a reed growing in a drainage ditch then they may require permits to cut said drains. It will not be only a Sagebrush rebellion, we will see a rebellion of rural God fearing Americans east and west, north and south who find their noble livelihoods they have known threatened by urbanites.

    • I definetly sympathize with the farmers but THEY GROW OUR FOOD!!! Where does the EPA expect to get food? Will it be everyone for himself?

      • No, even a few cities are banning people from growing thir own food in their yards. This is incremental control that seems to be escalating. Check out “Agenda 21.” We are in huge trouble.

  7. The people in these agencies need to get a life and stay out of the lives of the American people. Stop interfering where you have no business!

  8. “What do we need Congress for”

    That’s a good question Colonel– Our Representatives in Congress seem to love passing long wordy laws don’t do much except give the administration and the various agencies the power to do whatever they want.. Since regulations have the power of law maybe Congress should grant itself the power to review and authorize all regulations before they go into effect.. You know, sorta actually do their job..

    Yeah, I know, that’s work, and it would cut into the time need for fundraising, cocktail parties, golfing, junkets and Sunday Morning talk shows…

  9. Dave Hodges has written several articles about the EPA and Clean Water Act taking control of water usage. Many farmers and ranchers have been put out of business. This is very serious control of food, land, and water.
    TheCommonSenseShow.com

  10. I was aware of the this new regulation about 2 months ago.
    It was in an article about threatened private ponds.
    Washington state is even more strict than the federal regs.
    I just am not sure how this will impact the U.S. a couple
    of decades from now.
    Many of the ironic consequences imposed on hard working
    U.S. citizens are from the Democratic Party and the
    way a few very vocal groups impose regulations that
    increase the cost of food.
    I am very concerned.

  11. It should not be that hard, the House could just not fund the EPA in the next budget and send it on to Harry, who will sit on it and the EPA will not get funded (along with a lot of other unnecessary government functions, the important ones will however be funded by emergency measures.

    • That sounds good but when Obama causes another shutdown, who is going to be blamed, again. Cursed out for costing the people unnecessary money. For closing down the WWII monument. I wish they had played the last shutdown out, but I think they are scared that Obama will take the money and put it on something other than our national debt.

    • What budget? The Feral Government has not had a budget under Obama. They added TARP and the “Stimulus” to Bush’s last budget, 1.6 trillion total in additional spending per year, then baseline it with automatic increases and have been passing continuing resolutions since. Then have the gall to say they are spending less than Bush because they keep under what was supposed to be two one time expenditures.

      You have to have a budget to defund something and Reid will not pass a budget. If the Republican force a budget vote the Dems start sceaming that they are shutting the government down, pushing old people off the cliff and are generally nasty people… And the idiots believe them.

  12. I have a well for my house. How soon until i will need a permit to remove water from the underground source on my property?

    • It probably will not be very long before they begin trying to put meters on personal wells. It’s been talked about for some time.

    • Washington state EPA has been trying to do this on wells..but they say “only to collect data”. Washington residents said to go pound sand. bunch of freaking unelected rulers, I think NOT.

  13. it was the Arabs trying to RULE WATER in the Middle East, controlling the water supply to the Citizens of The State of Israel, which brought about the pre-emptive strike, known today as the Six Day War in June 1967…

    don’t mess with Israel, and DO NOT MESS WITH THE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES wrt their WATER SUPPLY, you LEFTIST wannabe TYRANTS

  14. “You have to wonder, why do we even have a Congress and representatives when a government agency can institute insidious regulations with impunity — and with no regard to the economic impact or intrusion into our private lives?”

    Money shot.

  15. Mr. West I totally agree with you, but do you really think shuffling around the deck chairs of Congress will make any difference??? Not one has the balls to do what is necessary–IMPEACH IMMEDIATELY!! YOU HAVE 5 YEARS OF EVIDENCE AGAINST THIS MARXIST!!

  16. Congress controls the purse strings and I think it is about time that Congress do their Job. I urge Congress to defund the IRS, the BLM, the EPA, the NSA and any other Government enforcement agency who redefine laws which criminalize innocent hard working Americans. In the past 5 years, new government regulations have strangled American’s spending power, has attempted infringe on our constitutional rights, has increased taxes through fees and fines, and increased Executive Power to the point where the federal government is in every US Citizen’s personal life and home. Congress must act or “We the people” will have no choice but to reset the government and reclaim our Constitutional Rights and Freedoms from a tyrannical and lawless Government. This is not a Warning, or a Threat, but a fact repeated time and time again throughout history. A government reset was predicted by our forefathers and if our government does not believe it can happen, I urge them to read the newspapers from around the world to get a clue. I Pray Congress finds the courage to be the voice of the people of this great country, the wisdom to do that which is right, and the will to restore our Constitutional Republic.

    • Remove the funding, The Useless fucks that represent us can do this it at any time, only they don’t represent us!!!!

    • the people shout urges while the despot govt purges, we dont have the people nor anyone in govt that will stand up to this dictator.the window is closing and the sun is fast seting on this country and what it used to be, soon we all will be dead or in prison somewhere.

  17. I believe I have the winning campaign promise for the next President..
    The next president’s FIRST act will be to issue an Executive Order banning ANY regulatory agency from implementing ANY new, or stricter regulation that has not been SPECIFICALLY approved by Congress. The order should also require a review of all current regulations with the requirement to phase out existing regulations within 10 years if not specifically authorized by Congress. A beneficial side effect may be that reviewing all the regulations these agencies want to keep may prevent Congresss from doing ANYTHING else, or force them to dissolve several regulatory agencies.

  18. Expropriation. This is all designed to turn farmers into criminals, in order to drive them off their land.

  19. I am happy to see so many people commenting are aware of the government and non-government controls that are crushing our liberties and ability to live. I pray that Col. West is taking notice and is Aware of what is going on. Many of us want to do sometthing to stop the demise of the USA, but we feel isolated and have no like minded neighbors. I do not think that if I stood on the corner with a sign that it would wake anyone up. We don’t have the town pub where people gather like in the times of Paul Revere. We have been brought up with the idea that it is not polite to talk about Religion or Politics. We have recently witnessed the failure of even big organised protests like operation american spring fizzling out and being a sad joke How do we band together? How do we stand up and say NO? .

  20. Allen… I swear im going to stop reading your blog if you dont get honey boo boo’s disgusting mother’s fat mug off your website. Her blowing kisses at me literally makes my stomach turn.

  21. Um, let’s see now… my home does happen to lie in a 100 year flood plain. Been here since 1985. Does this mean the EPA is now going to expect to regulate my activities on my own property? It’s looking more and more like it’s time to rein in these Imperial Federal Governmental Bureaus. Let’s close ’em. After all, while the EPA was created with the best of intentions, between irrational activities like this and the lack of action at places like the nearby Koppers Superfund site, clearly these folks have lost touch with reality.

  22. “So the question for Gina McCarthy and Barack Hussein Obama has to be, why is this necessary?” The answer to this question is simple: It is NOT necessary! This administration has demonstrated clearly that it believes itself not bound by any limits whatever. The current EPA would love to “regulate” every drop of water within US borders; including mud puddles after a rain shower. “If it’s wet, we own it” seems to be their motto. I think it’s time to disband the EPA and reformulate it as a group of no more than 10 people whose job it is to advise the Secretary of the Interior regarding environmental issues. No more eco-fascist control. No more EPA regulations and absurd claims, fees, and fines. If peer-reviewed scientific literature is not available to support the claims of this rogue and criminal (think RICO) organization, then the regs it promulgates must be without force of any type.

  23. Can the House of Representatives vote to defund the EPA? Would it have to go to the Senate? How does that work?

  24. Huge water grab. Ogallala Aquifer controlled by Texas billionaire.

    Our Water Is Being Stolen From Us!
    The Rich Are Buying Up The Rights For Our Water, To $ell It Back To Us
    NewsFocus – 120410

    Unbeknown to most Americans, their most precious natural resource, as in life-giving drinking water, is being stolen, literally right out from under them. If they ever want a drink, they’ll have to buy it back, at a considerable price.

    A recent episode of the hit TruTV investigative program, “Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura,” has literally tapped into a water scandal that most of the US public has no idea about. Multi-national corporations and unscrupulous wealthy individuals are buying up water rights for some of the largest aquifers in the US and the world. With water predicted to become a scarcity within 20 years, it would appear that some of the elite wealthy are trying to corner the market on the earth’s most precious life-giving resource, water.

    American oil-tycoon T. Boone Pickens was one of the first to rush to capitalize on the impending water shortage, investing a meager $100-million in a scheme that he readily admits will make him an easy billion dollars, if not far more.

    In the Texas panhandle, Roberts County sits over the largest underground aquifer in the US, the Ogallala Aquifer, containing a quadrillion gallons of water. This vast underground reservoir reaches as far north as South Dakota. Roberts county is roughly 924 square miles, yet has only a meager 900 residents. Some people would say they were “ripe for the picking.” Perhaps that statement should read,”ripe for Pickens.”

    Mr. Pickens has purchased 68,000 acres, as well as the right to drain up to 50% of the Ogallala aquifer to sell for his own personal profit. Needless to say, that isn’t exactly going over too well for many Texas residents.

    T. Boone Pickens 68,000 acres that sit over the Ogallala aquifer. (Graphics: TruTV)

    The fact that something like this is even allowed tells you that government doesn’t always work in our best interests, especially when big money is there to buy off the legislators, something Pickens knows a thing or two about.

    Money Buys (Bribes) Legislation

    Thanks to many state legislators whose campaigns he helped finance, Pickens has been bestowed with a tremendous power generally reserved for state and local governments, the power of “eminent domain.” He did this by creating a Fresh Water Supply District—a government entity that is allowed that kind of power.

    Pickens accomplished this feat after legislators passed a bill that made it all the easier to create a water district. Previously, a district’s five elected supervisors needed to be registered voters living within the boundaries of the district. Now, they only had to own land in the district; they could live and vote wherever. The bill was allegedly a “coincidental” bill put forth by two legislators from Houston. If you can believe the Pickens camp, they say that Mesa had nothing to do with influencing the bills passing. That seems improbable to many, considering the stakes.

    What Pickens did do was to create an eight-acre town and a local government, one where two of his employees are the only eligible voters. Once he had organized that, he held an election in which both of his employee voters cast their exclusive votes to make their tiny municipality into a powerful Fresh-Water Supply District. As a direct result of this scheming, Pickens is now able to issue tax-free bonds on his own, giving him the lucrative benefit of borrowing at a tremendous discount.

    The only problem now for Picket was that he was far away from any municipalities that might have a potential need to buy water. So Picket has proposed a massive pipeline that would be built in a 250-foot-wide corridor, all the way to Dallas. To get the pipeline, Pickett needed the Texas legislature to give him a joint energy and water transmission lines right-of-way.

    After spending $1.2-billion to help elect Texas legislators in 2006, Pickens was able to get the law changed. He did so with the invaluable help from former state Senator J.E. Buster Brown, now one of the most influential and powerful lobbyists in Texas. Brown accomplished this through an amendment to a major piece of state water legislation. The amendment, added after the bill had already been reviewed in the Texas House, allowed a water-supply district to transmit alternative energy and transport water in a single corridor, or right-of-way.

    Brown represents Pickens’ company, Mesa Water. He says, “My job is primarily defensive. I’m watching to make sure there is no legislation passed that creates obstacles to Pickens doing what he wants to do. I’m supposed to make sure nothing bad happens.”

    An Unfair Power

    For Pickens, he can now use the power of eminent domain to force landholders to sell to him, or else he now has the legal right to simply take their land from them if they refuse his offer, all allegedly “for the common good” of Texans.

    Pickens weaseled for this exclusive power of eminent domain because he needs it to force his plan upon Texas landowners, all so that he can build his huge pipeline to Dallas. Many Texans find this to be about as underhanded as you can get to steal someone’s land. In Texas, “them’s fightin’ words,” but then again, who can possibly stand up to the billionaire bully Pickens? Through his newfound power of eminent domain, Pickens has seized land across 11 counties so far.

    According to an article in Business Week, Pickens owns more water than any other person in the country through his water rights in the Ogallala aquifer.

    The Ogallala aquifer runs from Texas to South Dakota. (Graphics: TruTV)

    Pickens has already sent 1,100 letters out to landowners living on the 250-mile corridor that he plans to build on. Pickens intends to essentially steal this land for only $30 million, more than likely less than full market value.

    Pickens isn’t content with his local new found Texas power. He has now gone so far as to petition congress and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to expand the power of eminent domain and right-of-way, so that he can operate across state lines as well.

    Pickens has added to the project by now proposing a vast $12-billion wind farm, to sit on the same land he is taking for his pipeline. The cost of the water pipeline is estimated at $1.5-billion.

    According to Texas State Rep Warren Chisum (R) “The wind is meant to sweeten the deal. The big money for Pickens is in the water.”

    You can literally bank on that. Especially when water becomes extremely scarce and Pickens jacks the price up on survival.

    “All I’m doing is selling surplus water,” Pickens told Business Week

    Considering that water is predicted to be in short supply soon, Pickens definition of surplus may be a tad bit conservative for the billionaire tycoon.

    It should be noted that State Representative Chisum is also a wealthy Roberts County rancher who owns 12,000 acres next to Pickens and is also involved in selling off the people’s water from the aquifer.

    In Roberts County, residents cling to the hope that controls can be put in place to regulate and control pumping from the Ogallala aquifer.

    In 1998, as entrepreneurs and local water utilities began buying up water rights, the groundwater conservation district decided to place restrictions on the rule of capture that it calls the 50-50 rule. A permit will only allow the aquifer to be drawn down by a maximum of 50%

    Pickens says he will stand by the 50-50 rule. “I don’t have any concerns about depleting the aquifer. All I’m doing is selling surplus water,” he says. “I’m not about to drain all the water out of Roberts County. I have my ranch there. But I could sure take it down 50% and not hurt anybody. And it could make a lot of people a lot of money.”

    Especially T. Boone Pickens.

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