EPA flooded with lawsuits over controversial water rule

Twenty-nine states, more than half the stars on the American flag, have filed lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for redefining the “Waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, erasing “navigable” and usurping states’ rights by including local seasonal streams, farm irrigation ponds, roadside ditches, and even “connective” dry lands placed under authority of the Clean Water Act.

The WOTUS rule, published the morning of June 29, potentially subjects every food, energy, transportation and manufacturing industry in the nation to high-handed regulation by one of the most reviled and least trusted federal agencies, dreaded for its cadre of “revolving door” officials hired from anti-industry green groups.

The astonishing response began on the afternoon of June 29: states teamed up in clusters to file their lawsuits in a common U.S. District Court. Utah and 8 others filed with Georgia in Augusta’s U.S. Court; Alaska and 11 others filed with North Dakota in Bismark. Days later Mississippi and Louisiana filed with Texas in Galveston; Michigan filed with Ohio in Columbus; Oklahoma filed alone in Oklahoma City.

Each state lawsuit asked a federal judge to declare the WOTUS rule illegal and issue an injunction to prevent the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, co-administrator of the rule, from enforcing it. Each state also asked the judge to order both agencies to draft a new rule that complies with the law and honors state authority.

The WOTUS rule is so alarming because it enables agency EPA Building Plaquebureaucrats to control virtually anything that gets wet, including a desert dry wash that gets a “drizzle,” actual EPA language criticized by House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) at a Heartland Institute conference in Washington in June.

Heartland Research Fellow H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D, commented, “Farmers, ranchers, developers, industry, and individual property owners would now be subject to the EPA’s arbitrary, unsound, and often incomprehensible regulatory system. It cannot be trusted.”

American Farm Bureau Federation general counsel Ellen Steen announced the group’s lawsuit with similar distrust: “When EPA and the Corps first proposed the rule in March 2014, they promised clarity and certainty to farmers, ranchers, builders and other affected businesses and landowners. Instead we have a final rule that exceeds the agencies’ legal authority and fails to provide the clarity that was promised.”

More than a dozen national agricultural and production organizations also filed suit against EPA, including the National Alliance of Forest Owners, American Road and Transportation Builders Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Manufacturers, and Public Lands Council.

The non-profit Pacific Legal Foundation sued on behalf of the state cattlemen’s associations of California, Washington, and New Mexico. When contacted for comment, the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association’s president, Jose Varela Lopez, said what many ranchers feel. He told The Daily Caller, “My family has been on our land for 14 generations, each leaving it better for the next. Water is the source of all life and after all our generations, our water is clear and the land lives on. We have the history to prove that we are caretakers of the water and the land without the help of the Environmental Protection Agency.”

The alarm over WOTUS is not just about strangulation by regulation. Corruption has become a primary issue: evidence has emerged that EPA officials unlawfully lobbied crony green groups to send “one million comments” supporting the rule, according to a May 19 New York Times article. The Army Corps of Engineers examined the comments and found that 98 percent appeared to be non-substantive mass mailings.

Three lawmakers from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and two subcommittee chairmen, Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), immediately sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy demanding answers about rigging public input with YouTube videos, Twitter accounts, and many other social media marketing tools.

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About the Author: Ron Arnold

Ron Arnold

Ron is a free enterprise activist, author, and newspaper columnist. He pioneered methods to expose the money and power of Big Green in nine books and hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles. He mentors promising activists and writers as a civic duty.

  • alleen

    Why should the EPA have so much power to control our water and our environment? That agency was not set up to take ver America.

    • Gene

      Neither were several of the other alphabet agencies that are being used to try to control every breath we take now.

  • JoAnn Dolberg

    Good! Now, don’t just sue the EPA, IGNORE them!

    • yaki534

      JoAnn, They won’t go away. Ignoring them will just give them the power to do anything.

      • JoAnn Dolberg

        I should have been clearer….ignore any ruling that comes from them. We really do not have to keep the laws dictated by tyrants, especially when those laws suppress our rights under the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The EPA is in bed with the U.N. agenda 21, as are most of our utility companies. Why these people think they can subjugate Americans is quite a story by itself, but if people would rise up and just say “No”…..oh wait a minute….where did we hear that before???? Anyway, we need not keep these make-believe laws by fakes who believe themselves to be our all-knowing parents.

        • yaki534

          Guess I mistook your intentions. YES! EPA is a rouge agency and has been from the start. Their first major project, the spotted owl, was full of half truths and outright lies and John Q public swallowed it. That one alone cost over 100,000 family wage jobs in the Pacific Northwest.
          It goes to prove that you can prove anything you want if you twist everything you want the direction you want.
          The EPA needs closed down or at the very least have their funds cut drastically.

    • dje3

      If one ignores them their property will be seized under administrative orders. This is especially true if the property is owned by other than a natural person (corporation, LLC, etc).

      However, POST YOUR PROPERTY, no trespassing throughout. Warrantless entry by any person, agent of government or even officer of government is usually a misdemeanor. If with a weapon it can be a felony in almost every state. In some states where “stand your ground” exist, the presence of a weapon and lack of warrant would mean that the agent of government is nothing less than a felon and is subject to whatever means necessary to hold them for processing by police.

      Each state should pass specific laws that make it ILLEGAL for any federal officer to enter a property of any kind without warrant and without the Sheriff escorting them. Penalty should be 20 year minimum prison sentence for he government agent personally, mandated.

      • JoAnn Dolberg

        GREAT post! Sadly though, our property is not really our own anyway; we pay taxes to keep our name on the government’s written authorization, their legal right “to lien us up.”

        • dje3

          JoAnn
          If one studies they find that the cause for property taxes was to allow only property owners to vote. Look it up. Since the dead, and illegal aliens vote now and since everyone can vote, the original cause justification for property taxes is dead.
          We need to END the slavery that the government and industry force us into. The only way to do that is very simple….no federal taxes. The original federal taxes were IMPORT AND EXPORT DUTIES ONLY. This was due to the intelligence of the Founding Fathers. They KNEW that the government would overburden us with taxes IF we allowed it to.
          Also remember that the forcing of taxation to pay for other people’s wars by England was the impetus of the revolution itself. Saddling the people with debt for to pay for wr policies caused it.
          We need to force the feds to return to import/export duties as the ONLY legal taxation. This will end slavery to the fed and adjust values to global values.
          Think of balancing the trade with China, our manufacturing plants would open up again. Then all we need do is end the property taxes in favor of ONLY register taxes.
          I do not like “leasing” property from the government when I supposedly own it.
          The Constitution actually does NOT allow the government to force the people to work for it for free. The average taxpayer is forced to pay for accountancy or to do 20 hours work or more a year for free. This is slavery and ordered by bureaucracy, not by Congress itself.
          It is all upside down.

          • JoAnn Dolberg

            I have studied this history and know it well. One of the problems is that the government does not obey its own laws; they make new ones at will, and because most citizens are not aware and consider that everyone is good and no one would do evil, the general populace bumbles along without researching anything and so are vulnerable to being abused by governmental authorities. Don’t pay your property taxes for a while, and see what happens to your land. As a country, we have crossed the line, and even though evil abounds, many are going to sleep right through it, to their own destruction.

  • Gen. Chang

    EPA needs to be abolished like a few other agencies do! I believe that a president Cruz would work on doing just that.

  • albert p. johnson

    the EPA SHOULD BE TOTALLY DONE AWAY WITH

    • KLH6

      I agree completely. I sign every petition I can against the EPA. The 165 million they want for the sage grouse is outrageous. They also want to add a carbon tax onto airfares. They fined a Wyoming couple $30,000 a day because they built a pond on their ranch. They made rain barrels illegal on your property because you’d be keeping the water from going to the waterways. It’s not your water. Wouldn’t the pioneers be scratching their heads at this insanity?!

      • dje3

        raparian and other water rights are actual PROPERTY RIGHTS, federally and under state laws.
        interference int hem by bureaucracy is illegal

    • James Estes

      Amen, brother!
      Farmers and landowners are much more capable than ANY government agency at doing things right. Yes! EPA is defunct and useless.

  • yaki534

    If we can not abolish the EPA we can defund it.

  • GRAMPA

    The word protection should be stricken and replaced with prosecution. It seems that the laws have become anything they determine that they should be at that moment.
    Grampa

  • Jan Williams

    It’s all and has been all…….Agenda 21.

    • Brin Jenkins

      Thats the game folk don’t see yet. Like the abolition of all citizen owned guns the US signed up to a few years back, this irks the presidential bumma no end!

      • Joe Fitzgerald

        Jan, you are right Agenda 21 is the United Nation’s created Godzilla that is a huge power grab whose goal is to destroy national sovereignty, using MMGW as the leverage.

  • Jack

    It is all about TOTAL CONTROL,if this regulation is ruled Constitutional,then next up,they will be pumping/piping/shipping water to California or China for TOP PRICE !

  • Irvan

    Couldn’t happen to a MORE WORTHY organization. They need to be put out of business COMPLETELY> They no longer do what they were originated for. The costliest WASTE YET!!!

  • ltc444

    Thanks to the EPA I now live on a beautiful mountain lake in Eastern Arizona.

    The only problem is that there has not been any water in it for roughly 5,000 years. I’m waiting for the Fish and Wildlife service to impose 10 horse outboard motor restrictions.

  • TruthSeeker

    Control water, you control life – – The psychopaths are running the institutions that is why things are so crazy

  • albert p. johnson

    get rid of the epa and all of their communist leaders

  • Coleman Alderson

    Being 4th gen land and mineral resource management in Central Appalachia, we’ve already been dealing with EPA (et al) for decades. Dollars to donuts, they will be all over what remains of mining and hydraulic fractionation (“Fracking”)The coal, gas, and oil industries all deal with vast amounts of water which the EPA now can regulate by fiat!

    • JoAnn Dolberg

      Yep, “authorities” have already said that the recent earthquake in Oklahoma is because of water infusion from oil exploration.

      • So much for the overblown news on EPA finding no widespread harm to aquifers due to fracking. That was a red herring as they took over all the WOTUS.

  • JIM

    GET RID OF THE EPA NOW

  • Harold Flath

    I agree with the consensus I am following, that the EPA should be abolished. I have said this for 20+ years. They have gotten TOO BIG FOR THEIR BRITCHES. They are not correctable. The EPA is not capable of correcting themselves, and in my opinion, the white house and congress is not helping the people who put them in office.
    I’m not a religious person, but if you are, and you believe in God, he (or she) has created the rains for the life on the surface of the planet, which includes, people, animals, all creatures and plants. NOT for the EPA’s control, but for the survival of each individual creature or plant. People have seen fit to take care of local regulation and balance to protect the local needs of the environment and life. The EPA is OUT OF CONTROL, and IS NOT helping the local people any longer. God gives you and me the rain to protect our family, livestock and farms, as we see fit. The rains is a gift from God and what makes the EPA think they are greater than God?
    You could also look at it as nature protecting nature. Most all the rains come from evaporative moisture from the Oceans and Seas. The Oceans and Seas are not under the reins of the EPA. If that rain coming from the ocean falls on my land I will use it at I see fit, not how the EPA sees fit. It is part of the laws of nature, or Gods law or gift.
    I also look at this as not helping the environment. But instead the EPA is trying to help itself create more ways to fine or charge people more money to make money for their department, to become more powerful. This is a good enough reason for me to endorse any means possible to git rid of the EPA. The PEOPLE are THE GOVERNMENT and we need to get back in control of agencies like this. We definately need to support our states and help in any way possible to fight the EPA. Support your state, your local groups, join forums, and help get the legislation we need to stop these crooks. Help your state fight or join the lawsuits that have been filed against the EPA and their redefining of WOTUS. Stand up and be counted.