Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House and Congressman from Wisconsin, wrote a timely piece for today’s Omaha World Herald criticizing the EPA’s new waters of the United States (WOTUS) definition. Ryan aptly sets out that the new rule is about power, and nothing less:
The Obama administration’s sweeping new rule, dubbed Waters of the United States (WOTUS), could upend the way water is used across the country. Allegedly to protect the water supply, the Environmental Protection Agency has rewritten a long-standing regulation so that the EPA can micromanage everyone’s use of their own land, including that of farmers and ranchers.
Ryan points at two cases and two cases alone to demonstrate that the federal government wants to micromanage all the land in the country: Pacific Legal Foundation‘s Duarte Nursery v. Army Corps of Engineers case, and PLF’s Andy Johnson v. EPA case. Ryan describes these two examples of federal government environmental overreach well:
Real people have already suffered at the hand of WOTUS. Andy Johnson of Fort Bridger, Wyoming, was fined $37,500 a day by the EPA for building a pond on his land to water his horses, even though he had obtained state permits to do so. John Duarte of rural Tehama County in California was told that he broke the law simply by plowing his land. He was ordered to cease and desist immediately.
We agree with Speaker Ryan that there are few cases that better show the federal government’s overreach in regards to wetlands, and that is why we represent John Duarte and Andy Johnson free of charge (as we represent all our clients). We also have sued to stop the implementation of the new WOTUS rule; in the meantime, Congress, led by Speaker Ryan, passed a Congressional Review Act resolution today disapproving of the new WOTUS rule.