A federal judge has once again slapped down the Environmental Protection Agency, this time for its attempt to seize control of virtually all water, anywhere in America. Is there no end to the EPA’s overreach?
Judge Ralph Erickson minced no words in condemning the EPA’s attempt to control much of America’s privately held land by regulating the water on it, calling the EPA regulation “inexplicable, arbitrary and devoid of a reasoning process.”
Erickson issued an injunction in the 13 states that sued. But the EPA, never one to give up a power grab, says it will impose its rule on the rest of us anyway.
Under the Clean Water Act, the EPA has regulatory power over “navigable” waters and any tributary to those waters. The EPA has stretched that definition to the breaking point, essentially saying if a piece of land is wet, it’s the EPA’s to regulate as it sees fit.
“The rule asserts jurisdiction over waters that are remote and intermittent waters,” Erickson wrote in his injunction. “No evidence actually points to how these … wetlands have any nexus to a navigable-in-fact water.”
The EPA interpretation would lead to private land owners having to ask permission from the government to do anything. It would give the EPA sweeping control over almost all private land in America.
This abuse by the Obama administration of its regulatory powers isn’t an isolated incident. It’s a pattern.
In June 2014, the Supreme Court blocked Obama’s EPA from implementing some of its draconian new rules on CO2 emissions.
In June of this year, the court ruled that the EPA had “unreasonably” failed to consider the cost of its new coal regulations.
And as far back as 2011, the D.C. district court threw out EPA restrictions on cement manufacturers, saying the agency ignored its own rules and due process in imposing costly restrictions on cement makers.
In 2012, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Wayne Crews estimated EPA regulations cost America $353 billion a year. With a recent surge in absurdly expensive rules — including the $1.1 trillion ozone regulations just put in place — that cost is soaring.
The EPA is out of control. Like the rest of our expanding federal bureaucracy, it has seized power the Constitution never intended it to have — power that diminishes states’ sovereignty and the rights to private property. The EPA must be reined in — or abolished.