EPA in hot WOTUS as people say, “ditch this rule!”

By |2014-08-14T23:52:31+00:00August 14th, 2014|Op-Ed Articles|14 Comments

Few outrages perpetrated by President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency can match its proposed rule titled “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act.” It would remove “navigable” from American water law and take federal command of all “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS.

It redefines “waters” as nearly everything that could get wet, including most of the land in America.

Under WOTUS, every seasonal stream bed, puddle and ditch in the nation would be ruled by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers’ armed enforcers, bypassing Congress and sidestepping the U.S. Supreme Court in the process. Congress is helpless to stop it — EPA-loving Democrats have a death grip on Senate bills and there aren’t the votes to override Obama’s certain veto. The Supreme Court has twice struck down major pieces of the proposed rule, which the EPA blithely ignored and merely changed the words, hired scientific shills to patch over the flaws, and created this new battering ram to shatter the gates that guard America’s property rights.

EPA plaqueEPA has been buying support from Big Green groups on water issues since at least 1994, which came to light in an inspector general report of three cooperative agreements to the Natural Resources Defense Council totaling $3,260,467 for “storm water education” and “market transformation of energy efficient products” from 1994 to 2005.

The IG reported, “We questioned $1,419,548 of reported outlays because [NRDC] did not maintain the necessary documentation to fully support the reported costs, as required by Federal regulations.”

Big Green foundations have been lusting after WOTUS power since the late 1990s. Foundation Search shows 74 Clean Water Act grants totaling $5,261,449 since 2002, Barack Obama’s last year on the Joyce Foundation board (1994-2002). Joyce gave $220,000 in CWA-related grants, $100,000 of it to NRDC in 2002. NRDC received $705,000 in 13 CWA-related grants from four foundations.

But dumbfounding as WOTUS is, that’s not what makes this horror extraordinary. The fury ignited by WOTUS — an entry in the Federal Register that could easily be ignored as just another technical bureaucratic maneuver — is what’s remarkable: Where the rule says “water,” a substantial public correctly hears “land.” They get it. They really get it.

WOTUS strikes many as the most vicious land grab since Lenin returned to St. Petersburg. The EPA’s intent, unlike its usual smokescreen of lies, is transparent. And that annoys people. It annoys them very, very much. Here’s why I say that:

In June, when Bob Stallman testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, it was no surprise that he told them, “The bottom line is that the expansion of the waters regulated under the Clean Water Act has enormous implications for small business entities that the agencies have not considered, much less explained. EPA is deliberately misleading the regulated community.”

He was politely saying he was perfectly aware that WOTUS would give federal regulators unlimited power to dictate how farmers farm, and he didn’t trust EPA’s promise to exempt farmers’ irrigation ditches. Farmers can smell EPA land-grab lies even under a heap of WOTUS manure.f

Stallman told me at the time, “I’ve been farming for decades and I can tell you that ditches are meant to carry water. Ditches will be regulated under this rule!”

I discovered that the American Farm Bureau was taking steps to protect its 6 million member families in an astonishingly SignPetitionwell-designed website called Ditch the Rule. It’s a Farm Bureau effort with all the social media clickables, hashtags and tweet buttons, including Ditches & puddles are not navigable.#DitchTheRule and Congress, not federal agencies, makes the laws.#WOTUS, among others. (Full disclosure: I tweeted them all and got a lot of retweets.)

The Farm Bureau is a trade association obligated to guard farmer interests, so the real surprise came in an email from an unrelated nonprofit that jumped in with a Ditch the Rule campaign of its own just because it was the right thing to do: the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, which usually deals with climate change, energy and poverty issues.

I asked CFACT Executive Director Craig Rucker about it. “We almost didn’t pick it up because it seemed off-target for our supporters, but with farmers taking on this huge WOTUS problem to save themselves, we just couldn’t stand by and do nothing.

“Astonishingly, we only started our Ditch the Rule campaign two weeks ago and last week our Facebook page got over a million hits. Our supporters get it. WOTUS has hit a nerve in America, a really big nerve.”

I asked Mace Thornton, the Farm Bureau’s communications executive director, whether he was aware that CFACT had joined the fray. He wasn’t, but welcomed the help. “We’ve been encouraging our members to share their individual stories through social media and they’ve responded overwhelmingly. It’s good to know our reach is extending far beyond our organization. We know our work has only begun.”

The EPA is sweating. There’s a page on the EPA website trying lamely to discredit Farm Bureau facts. EPA should sweat. I sense an incipient mass movement targeting WOTUS. It is not inconceivable that fed-up citizens could appear on farms across the nation in peaceful protests to face down EPA enforcers and say, “Ditch the Rule!


This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner

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  1. Frederick Colbourne August 15, 2014 at 2:06 AM

    ” It would remove “navigable” from American water law and take federal command of all “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS.

    It redefines “waters” as nearly everything that could get wet, including most of the land in America.”

    This is absolutely correct: the biggest land grab in history.

    Nothing in the Clean Water Act justifies this redefinition of US waterways. What we see here is the executive branch usurping the role of Congress in writing new law. We see the continuing rise of the “imperial presidency”.

  2. Guest August 15, 2014 at 7:56 AM

    Defund and abolish the EPA, Corrution at it’s best and has long outlived it’s usefulness and purpose!

  3. Ian R Griffiths August 15, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    Defund and abolish the EPA, Corruption at it’s best. Long outlived it’s usefulness and purpose.

  4. Palerider August 15, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    They are probably stupid enough to bring a knife to a gunfight,,,

  5. Well Done August 15, 2014 at 11:34 PM

    Cuss Richard Nixon for creating the EPA.
    Cuss Barack Obama for allowing EPA to turn into an extra-legislative band of little generals. Lock ‘n’ Load, America.

  6. MOLON LABE August 16, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    Flashback: EPA Official: EPAs “philosophy” is to “crucify” and “make examples” of US energy producers


  7. Mervyn August 16, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    How could a clever country, the USA, have slipped up by allowing a situation whereby a government agency, the EPA, could by-pass the scrutiny of Congress?

    But then again, look what happened in 1913 with the creation of the Fed Reserve! Is it any surprise. It’s what happens when politicians are caught napping.

    When something is clearly wrong, it must be fixed. The EPA must be brought under control. It is implementing the UN’s AGENDA 21… something that must never be allowed.

    • Chemman01 August 18, 2014 at 1:25 AM

      Are you sure the politicians were caught napping? IMO that is giving them to much benefit of the doubt.

      • Becky August 18, 2014 at 1:41 AM

        I agree. This is all deliberate planning and implementation.

  8. wally12 August 18, 2014 at 12:06 AM

    Nixon did establish the EPA under executive order. He did it to beat the democrats from doing it. However, In the early days of the EPA the ruling party if republican chose an administrator that would be less harsh on many violations. Then along came Obama,who despises companies and agrees with environmentalists that strict/harsh examples be dealt to violations of any kind. This harsh example was demonstrated by the EPA on a family out west who had all the local permits to build a home on newly purchased land. The EPA got wind of the project and shut it down on the premise that the land was a wet land. Everything that was shown indicated that the land was not a wet land but the homeowner didn’t have the funds to fight this large agency.
    I worked for a corporation as the plant and environmental engineer. In the early days of the EPA, the agency was receptive to remedial changes by corporations when the corporation showed they were serious in improvement. The fines were also more reasonable or fair. In one case the EPA even accepted changes that would benefit the corporations bottom line without affecting the remedial process. The over reach of the EPA seems to have become a power hungry agency since Obama took office but it may have happened prior. It really doesn’t matter when and who started the power grab. The point is real, that the EPA and other agencies of the government have become too powerful and need to be either eliminated or curtailed in their power to create over restrictive regulations and harsh enforcement.

  9. cardigan August 18, 2014 at 5:57 AM

    This is part of Agenda 21 of the UN. You can read more background here:

    “UN Agenda 21 Will Rule The US Waves”

    There is also more about the EPA and the UN here:
    “The United (Nations) States Environmental Protection Agency”

  10. zn September 22, 2014 at 5:47 AM

    That’s a really nice picture of a natural waterway in the lead image. Wouldn’t it be great if it stayed natural instead of being used for mining or cattle farming?

  11. Guest January 29, 2016 at 9:03 PM

    This article is full of misrepresentations and political pandering. Ron don’t mentor writers because shit like this is just confuses people looking to be informed.

  12. BOBBY NORWOOD June 13, 2016 at 1:14 PM


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