August 3, 2015

Final WOTUS Rule = more overreach by the EPA

By Mark Miller Senior Attorney
Like a bad movie villain, the EPA keeps coming back for more.

If forced to describe Pacific Legal Foundation as only one particular organization’s bête noire, I would find it tough to pick just one. The California Coastal Commission? The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service? Your average state regulatory agency? The pickings are vast, and Constitution-violating government entities numerous.

But if forced to pick, I would have to go with the United States Environmental Protection Agency. We’ve beaten back the out-of-control EPA in court—again and again—yet, just like Jason Vorhees, the EPA keeps rising from the dead and overreaching again. In turn, PLF again and again turns to the challenge of stopping an agency bent on overstepping its constitutional bounds.

Today, Forbes published a very nice op-ed by my colleagues Reed Hopper and Todd Gaziano about PLF’s opposition to the EPA’s most-recent overreach, in the form of the new waters of the United States rule. Hopper and Gaziano point out that “virtually nothing escapes the rapacious control of the federal government under the newly minted definition of ‘waters of the United States,’” and further that the EPA has used the new rule to “expand[] its jurisdiction to a degree that would make a normal bureaucrat blush.”

As the op-ed explains, nobody ever blushes at the EPA. They just take, take, take, and take some more, and wait for someone to stop them. Gaziano and Hopper make clear that PLF intends to do just that. Read the whole thing.

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Waters of the United States

In 2015 PLF challenged the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to stretch federal control to nearly every pond, ditch, and puddle in the nation as nothing more than an outrageous—and illegal—power grab under cover of the Clean Water Act. And under the Act, people who are harmed by such rules have six years to sue in federal district court. That is, until the EPA rewrote the rule, trying to prevent legal action by giving property owners just 120 days to sue, and then only in federal appellate courts. On January 22, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the EPA’s power play and unanimously ruled for PLF and property rights. The High Court agreed with PLF that the EPA cannot shelter its “waters of the United States” rule from judicial review by arbitrarily limiting where victims can sue.

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