Published on June 29, the EPA erased the word “navigable” from the ‘Waters of the U.S.” [WOTUS] adding “local streams, farm irrigation ponds, roadside ditches, seasonal streams, even “connective’ dry land, and basically anything that gets wet to federal jurisdiction, usurping longstanding states’ rights. Claiming that this clarifying rule change will have minimal economic impact and would not affect many acres is a laughable assertion when you consider the amount of acreage in just one state or county that has hydric soils which is an adequate characteristic to be considered “waters of the U.S.” by the EPA.
In Virginia alone, regulation of “ephemeral streams,” which is land that water runs across during rainstorms but is dry the rest of the time, covers 54,624 stream miles, or 2.37 million acres. And when you add in land where surface runoff channels when it rain, you are looking at 106,359 stream miles and 2.76 million acres. You can search your state at this link.
What they have essentially done is subject every food, energy, transportation and manufacturing industry, farmers, ranchers, developers and individual property owners in the nation to high-handed regulation. That very afternoon, June 29, twenty-nine angry and frustrated states teamed up in clusters to file lawsuits in U.S. District Courts against the EPA for redefining the “Waters of the United States.”
Each state lawsuit asked a federal judge to declare the WOTUS rule illegal and issue an injunction to prevent the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, co-administrators of the rule, from enforcing it. Each state also asked the judge to order both agencies to draft a new rule that complies with the law and honors state authority.
American Farm Bureau Federation general counsel Ellen Steen announced the group’s lawsuit with similar distrust: “When EPA and the Corps first proposed the rule in March 2014, they promised clarity and certainty to farmers, ranchers, builders and other affected businesses and landowners. Instead, we have a final rule that exceeds the agencies’ legal authority and fails to provide the clarity that was promised.”
More than a dozen national agricultural and production organizations also filed suit against EPA, including the National Alliance of Forest Owners, American Road and Transportation Builders Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Manufacturers, and Public Lands Council.
The non-profit Pacific Legal Foundation sued on behalf of the state cattlemen’s associations of California, Washington and New Mexico. When contacted for comment, the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association’s president, Jose Varela Lopez, said what many ranchers feel. He told The Daily Caller, “My family has been on our land for 14 generations, each leaving it better for the next. Water is the source of all life and after all our generations, our water is clear and the land lives on. We have the history to prove that we are caretakers of the water and the land without the help of the Environmental Protection Agency.”
The alarm over WOTUS is not just about strangulation by regulation. Corruption has become a primary issue: evidence has emerged that EPA officials unlawfully lobbied crony green groups to send “one million comments” supporting the rule, according to a May 19 New York Times article. The Army Corps of Engineers examined the comments and the Senate found that 98 percent appeared to be non-substantive mass mailings.
The EPA is attached at the hip with numerous left-wing environmental groups, much like the FDA and Monsanto. The million-member Natural Resources Defense Council had 33 employees on 21 highly influential EPA federal advisory committees from 2001 to 2013. The Sierra Club had 21 people on 12 EPA committees; National Wildlife Federation, 8 employees on 5 committees; National Audubon Society, 7 on 4; Friends of the Earth, 6 on 4. And so on. Even the huge NRDC couldn’t singly muster “one million comments” for WOTUS, but somebody could. Who?
Those five groups are among the 20 Left-wing Big Green machine members of the Partnership Project, a Washington, DC-based non-profit campaigning company that compiles and enhances all 20 membership lists with detailed demographic data, keeping each precious list secret from other members. Partnership Project operates expertly managed collaborative campaigns for multiple members that agree to pool resources for mega-projects. Such projects are funded by massive foundation grants with no government money involved, or at least none that can be tied to the group.
While little in the way of funding could be found for Partnership Project, according to an article in the Washington Free Beacon, a major Senate report says that a sprawling network of left-wing foundations, non-profit groups, and individual donors and activists have disbursed tens of millions, often shielded from public scrutiny, to not only sway elections but to sway public policy toward environmentalist goals.
Much of the money behind the effort, the report claims, is laundered through non-profit groups prohibited from engaging in political activity. Dubbed the “Billionaire’s Club”, the report says they are adept at converting charitable donations into political outcomes by taking advantage of tax loopholes. The network funnels money from “charitable” foundations, often through 501(c)(3) “educational” nonprofit groups, to activist organizations that attempt to influence legislation, elections, regulatory actions, or public perception on major environmental issues.
Groups such as the Democracy Alliance operates as an informal collaborative network between wealthy liberal donors and major left-wing organizations, revealing as little as possible about their work coordinating fundraising and advocacy. They act as a “green revolving door” between the EPA and groups that lobby for more stringent environmental regulations. The EPA then seeks out individuals with ties to such groups for key leadership positions.
I love it when the RINOs pretend to be upset with the EPA and threaten to defund it. They know and anyone with any common sense knows that the EPA is but one of Obama’s weapons of mass destruction aimed at the heart of America.