Posted in: Green News

Clean Water Act Deemed EPA Power Grab By Opponents

EPA power grab

The Clean Water Act complete with new EPA proposed regulations could soon impact how ponds and streams on private property are maintained and used. A series of recently proposed Environmental Protection Agency laws are highly controversial and have sparked concerns about the infringement of property rights for homeowners and businesses.

The water rights issues had been deemed a power grab by some and faces opposition from politicians from both major political parties. The Clean Water Act proposal would potentially allow the EPA to garner control over streams, ditches, gullies, and about any low spot where a few drops of moisture collect on a seasonal basis. When the Environmental Protection Agency released the water regulations proposal in September, the document stated that streams, regardless of their “size or how frequently they flow,” would be included in the new dictates if they are either connected to or have an impact on downstream waters.

EPA critics are reportedly fearful that the federal agency’s regulatory power would be essentially rubber stamped if a host of “liberal judges” were appointed to the many now vacant positions on courts which would potentially hear disputes. The Washington, DC. Circuit Court of Appeals hears all legal challenges to Environmental Protection Agency programs.

Doug McKelway, a Fox News Washington correspondent, had this to report about the EPA water rights controversy:

“The most fearful [of the initiatives] the EPA is proposing for critics, is that they [EPA] would regulate much of the water in the United States. But it would actually go well beyond and allow regulation of water on private property. Something Congressional critics say threatens the very foundation of property rights.”

Many Congressional opponents to the latest attempt to enact more environmental regulations by the federal agency have noted that the Clean Water Act proposal is not the first time the governing body’s requests for scientific data behind a new initiative have been ignored. The Clean Air Act could significantly increase operational costs for businesses and cause a rise in monthly utility bills for consumers if fears voiced by opponents are accurate.

For the first time in two decades, a subpoena had to be issued by Congress in order to garner the EPA scientific research documents which led to the proposal of the Clean Air Act. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy stated her dismay about the “challenges” to proposed regulations voiced by Congress during an interview with the Center for American Progress. “They continue to challenge us, especially on the House side.” Those challenges, as McCarthy deemed the requests for information, are part of the governing process and integral to maintaining the balance of power, as the Founding Fathers intended.

Chairman of the House Science Committee, Texas Republican Representative Lama Smith, had this to say about the proposed EPA Clean Water Act regulations:

“This is unprecedented. They want to control the private use of water on private property. And they have done so without even waiting for their own science advisory board to weigh in and let the American people know if there is even a need for these kinds of far-reaching regulations.”

Chairman Smith and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Chris Stewart (Utah Republican) sent the White House Office of Management and Budget a letter noting concerns of the rushed nature allegedly present during the EPA Clean Air Act review process. The men urged the Obama administration to allow a reasonable amount of time for a full scientific peer review of both the proposed regulation and the agency’s water connectivity report.

The Environmental Protection Agency stated the Clean Water Act is necessary in order to “clear up uncertainty” created in the wake of US Supreme Court rulings pertaining to the federal agency’s power to regulate bodies of water. “The Clean Water Act does not distinguish among programs as to what constitutes ‘waters of the United States. As a result, these decisions affect the geographic scope of all Clean Water Act programs,” an EPA release states. The Environmental Protection Agency is in the midst of drafting nearly 134 regulations, according to the Daily Caller. There are “hundreds” of pending environmental and energy regulatory proposals being completed by various executive branch level agencies, as well.

Reducing carbon dioxide limits are one of the primary aspects to President Barack Obama’s climate change initiative. Enacting what would essentially be a ban on coal fired power plant construction unless the facilities could afford to purchase carbon capture and sequestration technology will most assuredly be a massive financial hurdle for both the industry and consumers as well, according to citizens and lawmakers opposed to the new regulations. “Already EPA regulations have contributed to the closure of more than 300 coal units in 33 states,” American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity representative Laura Sheehan said.

An excerpt from an EPA report about pending regulations reads:

“The proposed standards, if finalized, will establish achievable limits of carbon pollution per megawatt hour for all future units, moving the nation towards a cleaner and more efficient energy future. In 2014, EPA intends to propose standards of performance for greenhouse gas emissions from existing and modified power plant sources.”

Environmental Protection Agency Statement of Priorities

  • · Making a visible difference in communities across the country
  • · Addressing climate change and improving air quality
  • · Taking action on toxics and chemical safety
  • · Protecting water: a precious, limited resource
  • · Launching a new era of state, tribal and local partnership
  • · Working toward a sustainable future
  • · The Agency will continue to deploy existing regulatory tools where appropriate and warranted. Addressing climate change calls for coordinated national and global efforts to reduce emissions and develop new technologies that can be deployed. Using the Clean Air Act, EPA will continue to develop greenhouse gas standards for both mobile and stationary sources.

How do you feel about the EPA Clean Water Act?

[Image Via: Shutterstock.com]

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