Witnesses tell Senate EPA implementing water rule despite court stay
May 25, 2016
The principal topic of discussion was how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are expanding federal control over land and water, including implementing the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule to the Clean Water Act - despite a stay on the rule issued by a federal court and no change in law - and how regulatory overreach is stifling businesses and hurting our economy and private property rights.
Among the witnesses presenting was Damien Schiff, an attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, who is representing a business in Fairbanks, Alaska. The business has outgrown its current location and wants to expand to a neighboring location which the firm has acquired. The Corps, however, has asserted jurisdiction over the property’s approximately 200 acres of permafrost, claiming the acreage constitutes a “wetland.” Permafrost can be found beneath 80 percent of Alaska. This is in direct contradiction to congressional testimony from the EPA administrator and federal law.
Because of the expense and the permitting that will be involved if the Corps claims jurisdiction, the business has had to resort to filing suit in federal court.
Other testimony centered on how WOTUS is being used to stifle farmers and homebuilders.
“The stories from today’s witnesses are incredible,” Senator Sullivan said. “Not only do the EPA and the Corps think frozen ground is a water of the United States, but federal agencies are asserting authority over even more features... The EPA and the Corps are bypassing Congress and ducking Supreme Court rulings to get to these jurisdictional conclusions, and this is all happening even though the WOTUS Rule has been stayed by a federal appeals court.
“It is imperative that we talk about what is happening around the country and bring to light the realities of this overregulation that is happening with little to no legal authority. The EPA has effectively given itself the power to dictate infrastructure policy in Alaska, and all over the country,” Senator Sullivan said.
Watch the full hearing here: http://1.usa.gov/1WdyIoU
Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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