Obama EPA/ACE trying for control of all waters - roadbuilders could be affected
By Peter Samuel
The Obama administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving boldly to expand its powers under the Clean Water Act. The EPA and their fellow US Gov enviro regulator the US Army Corps Engineers (ACE) are moving to finalize "guidance" on writing rules which eliminate the important qualifying adjective "navigable" next to the law's statement that they may regulate activities affecting "navigable waters."
The law as written by the US Congress and interpreted by the Supreme Court limits the jurisdiction of the federal agencies to impacts on navigable waters interpreted to mean large bodies of water and waterways feeding those.
The American Farm Bureau Federation says the elimination of the adjective 'navigable' would open the way the ObEPA/ObACE extending regulation to "even a roadside ditch that fills with water only after a good soaking"such as a regular thunderstorm.
The farm lobby is fighting back with Preserve the Waters of the U.S. Act (S2245 and HR4965) which would prevent EPA from using the guidance document, and would reassert the existing legal limits of federal power.
It would seem state road builders and operators have a common interest with farmers in resisting this extension of federal power.