September 4, 2015

Some pictures really are worth a thousand words

By M. Reed Hopper Senior Attorney

We have often stated that the Corps and EPA’s new rule redefining “waters of the United States,” under the Clean Water Act, is the biggest power grab in the history of the Nation and will “federalize” virtually all waters in the Country and much of the land.  We have repeated this refrain in articles and op-eds.  And even in congressional testimony.  To some, this may appear as overheated rhetoric.  But this picture may change your mind.  It’s a graphic produced by Geosyntec Consulting for the California Farm Bureau Federation that demonstrates the full reach of the new rule in the State of California.  According to CFBF, depScreen Shot 2015-09-04 at 11.37.20 AMending on how the rule is applied, it could cover 95% of the State’s landmass.  The results are similar for other states as well.

Why should you care?

Putting aside the fact that a federal court has already decided the new rule is likely illegal, and that the rule undermines state sovereignty and our constitutional way of life, it puts millions of landowners in the cross-hairs of faceless federal bureaucrats who aim to control local land and water use.  Anyone disrupting an area covered by the new rule may face ruinous civil fines ($37,500 a day) and criminal prosecution for ordinary uses on private land, including farming, unless they receive federal approval.

That’s why PLF is suing to repeal the rule.  This unprecedented expansion of federal power must be stopped.

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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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