Knowledge is key to fighting over-reaching government

December 22, 2014 | By KATE POMEROY

Yesterday, nationally syndicated columnist George Will wrote about several government abuses the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) tirelessly fights in venues throughout the country on behalf of ordinary Americans.

Two issues involved the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an agency PLF has regularly sued and prevailed against to restore our liberties, including in the Supreme Court of the United States.

[MORE: Information on PLF issues and cases related to Environmental Regulation.]

You can read Mr. Will’s column at The Washington Post but Liberty Blog readers may wish to pay particularly attention to his discussion of federal abuses of the 42-year old Clean Water Act. Mr. Will quotes PLF attorneys Reed Hopper and Todd Gaziano from their recent The Wall Street Journal opinion piece “Watch Out for That Puddle, Soon It Could be Federally Regulated:

And then there is the matter of puddles. Pruitt and other attorneys general are resisting the EPA’s and the Army Corps of Engineers’ contention that the 42-year-old Clean Water Act has a hitherto unsuspected capaciousness. The act, which allows regulation of “navigable waters,” was passed under Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce, so “navigable waters” have been understood to be those suitable for transporting people and products between the states.

But M. Reed Hopper and Todd F. Gaziano of the Pacific Legal Foundation, writing in the Wall Street Journal, say the EPA now wants to control not just wetlands and other non-navigable waters but any water or normally dry land with a “hydrological connection” to actual navigable waters. These include, Hopper and Gaziano say, “arroyos in the desert as well as ditches and culverts hundreds of miles from” actual navigable waters. Pruitt and other attorneys general are contesting this bureaucratic imperialism whereby the EPA, by aggregating almost all of the nation’s water and much of its land into EPA-designated “ecoregions,” could regulate — and stifle — much of the nation’s economic activity.

PLF appreciates Mr. Will calling attention to bureaucracies that are attempting an unprecedented—and unconstitutional—power grab by trying to extend the Clean Water Act (CWA) to cover “virtually any wet spot in the county.”