Wisconsin farmers fight against the Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘Waters of the U.S.’ proposed rule. (Photo: American Farm Bureau Federation via Facebook)
Earlier this year, the EPA announced that it would unilaterally expand its authority under the Clean Water Act, vastly extending the scope of regulated waters. Fortunately, the House of Representatives has now passed legislation to stop the EPA, and The Heritage Foundation helped make this victory happen.
The EPA’s proposal would give the agency unprecedented power in regulating water on private property. Ranchers, farmers, and private property owners across the nation were alarmed to hear that everything from navigable rivers down to man-made ditches and dry creek beds would now be subject to EPA scrutiny under the CWA.
Heritage Foundation expert Daren Bakst has taken the lead in educating Congress and the public about the negative effects of the EPA’s broad redefinition of its authority. Over the past several months, he has written numerous issue briefs, hosted discussion panels, and presented policy solutions to lawmakers. He explained the core of the problem in a report this summer:
This water (and land) grab is an attack on property rights. Private property owners would need to obtain permits from the federal government far more often than they already do now when seeking to use and enjoy their land. There has been widespread opposition to the rule from everyone from farmers to counties, which are concerned that the rule will impose costly new requirements on them.
The House of Representatives agreed. The new bill, if adopted by the Senate and signed into law, will prohibit the EPA from moving forward with its power grab and ensure that private property owners are not subject to burdensome government over-regulation. Do you think the House was right to limit the EPA’s powers?