Proposed EPA regulations could soon impact how you use streams on your own land.
The controversial Environmental Protection Agency proposals, previously reported by Off The Grid News, were listed as priorities on the White House’s 2013 fall regulatory agenda released in late November.
The proposals would define “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act as including not only rivers and lakes but also streams, because the EPA says, streams are “connected to and have important effects on downstream waters” – that is, rivers and larger bodies of water.
EPA’s definition of streams would include large and small creeks and streams and also seasonal creeks and streams, the proposal said. The proposal further said that wetlands and open-waters in floodplains of streams and rivers “are integrated with streams and rivers.”
There are 3.5 million miles of rivers and streams in America, according to the EPA. No doubt, thousands if not a few million homes on private property reside next to streams, which often run through what homeowners would call ditches.
The White House regulatory agenda said the Clean Water Act contains language that, because of court rulings, has led to uncertainty. The law “could benefit from additional clarification through rulemaking,” the EPA said.
Texas Republican Representative Lama Smith, the Chairman of the House Science Committee, called the EPA’s proposed action “unprecedented.” He said:
The EPA’s draft water rule is a massive power grab of private property across the U.S. This could be the largest expansion of EPA regulatory authority ever. If the draft rule is approved, it would allow the EPA to regulate virtually every body of water in the United States, including private and public lakes, ponds and streams.
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 Water 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.
Smith’s office said the EPA submitted the proposed rule to the White House for approval “on the same day that it provided the draft scientific assessment to its Science Advisory Board (SAB) for peer review.”
“This is a clear attempt to fast-track the approval process without independent review,” Smith said.
The Environmental Protection Agency said the goal of the Clean Water Act is to protect America’s waters.
“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 hundreds of EPA regulations slated to be approved before the end of the year have the potential to drastically alter the way Americans who live near water conduct their lives. The Environmental Protection Agency is in the midst of drafting nearly 134 regulations before the end of 2013, 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.