Allen B. West

New EPA rules may reclassify the meaning of “water”

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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.

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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.

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