States’ v. EPA

The current federal administration relentlessly sends its attack dogs against the people and the States of America—agencies released to threaten our use of private property and lock up natural resources. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE) that Congress spawned as pups have grown into vicious, dangerously threatening big dogs.

These now over-sized, fearsome agencies were originally intended to be relatively benign and kept on short-lease by Congress. Lately, they are loose and aggressive with rulemaking that goes way beyond their initial purposes—typically what results when we allow government control of our lives, liberty and property.

President Obama and agency spokespeople claim that the new rules proposed to decree federal authority and control of virtually all land and water in every State in America are necessary to clarify the old rules under the 1972 federal Clean Water Act (CWA) that have been confusing. Courts have added confusion to them because of many lawsuits that question the federal authority to encroach on private property.

Late last month State attorneys’ general signed a letter to EPA and ACOE requesting a nine month extension because, they wrote, that these regulations will have a negative impact on agriculture, homebuilding, oil/gas production and mining. In addition to State regulations they will have to contend with more “burdensome and conflicting federal requirements.”

On August 11, thirteen States—including Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico and North Dakota asked a federal judge “to block the controversial rule from taking place.” Associations of natural resources companies are alarmed at this attempt to “stifle development.” A spokesman for the National Mining Association told a reporter (Link below):

This rule embodies all that is wrong with EPA’s overall regulatory approach: its costs will far outweigh any benefits, it violates both the spirit and intent of Congress in the Clean Water Act, and it has been sold as a benign attempt to add ‘clarity’ and ‘certainty’ to the marketplace, when in fact it only clarifies and makes certain the threat EPA poses to a wide swath of the economy—from mining and farming to home building and construction.

Jason Bostic, Vice President of the West Virginia Coal Association added: “It’s no longer about water or discharges. It’s about regulating the landscape.”

Dozens of industrial groups have filed complaints against EPA and the Army Corps.

Eleven Southeastern States (including North Carolina) filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of Georgia federal court for an expedited briefing. They hope for a decision by the end of this month.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey explained the background of this issue in the report by Marita Noon.

The Clean Water Act passed by Congress authorized the two federal agencies to regulate “navigable waters” of the United States. The States were assured that they would “retain their constitutional, sovereign responsibility over non-navigable, interstate lands and waters.” Twice the U. S. Supreme Court has rejected these agencies’ attempts to expand authorities under the CWA. Morrisey believes that their new nearly 300 pages of rulemaking will give them “virtually limitless power over these waters.”

But this story begins with political advocates within the federal agencies and instigated by noisy, radical voices of the usual suspects–environmental activists. For many decades federal (and State) agencies have been infiltrated by these people, indoctrinated in public schools and universities, who now serve as “useful idiots” to the outsiders.

Louisiana Senator David Vitters sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy noting reports of inappropriate coordination of the new rules by her agency people and outside groups: the notorious Sierra Club and Obama’s campaign affiliate Organizing for Action. Sen. Vitter reminded McCarthy that the Department of Justice has advised federal agencies not to lobby the public to generate political support for policies promoted by the administration.

But ethics is of no concern to environmental activists. They play by their own rules and the principle: “Whatever means it takes to get our way.”

Strong and persistent pushback against these new federal rules may temporarily stall the agencies, but with never-ending pressure from the political class they will not give up trying to usurp more institutional power, control more of our property, and restrict our freedoms. We should all hope that in every States’ versus the EPA case, the States win.


For another account of the battle against Obama’s plan to radically expand the authority of the feds over the American landscape see the Politico article below:


About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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