Monday, December 8, 2014

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes - "Watch Out for That Puddle, Soon It Could Be Federally Regulated"

In my opinion, government should protect and nurture individuals and society, support and insure "the certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," as the Declaration of Independence states. Unfortunately, the power of government officials, especially un-elected "administrative" officials, to abuse their position and powers has a long history, as the Roman phrase  "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes - Who guards the guardians?" indicates.

Below are excerpts from an article which highlights what is potentially another example of the abuses of governmental power.

"Earlier this year the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers proposed a rule redefining the “waters of the United States” that are subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act. The two agencies recently finished collecting public comments on their draft rule and are deciding how to proceed. Their best course is to abandon the rule or anything like it."

The articles conclusions are:

The GAO (The Government Accountability Office) concluded “the definitions used to make jurisdictional determinations” were “vague.” This situation fosters uncertainty and undermines economic activity and development.
The proposed rule magnifies the problem. It starts by including all tributaries in the nation (e.g., your backyard creek), and then authorizes federal officials to decide on a case-by-case basis if any “other waters” or land should be regulated. The proposed rule also asserts that federal jurisdiction is not limited to water contained in “aquatic systems” but covers the “associated chemical, physical, and biological features” of any aquatic system “as a whole.”
What isn’t a chemical, physical or biological feature of an aquatic system as a whole? Does that cover an entire ecoregion? Probably, since agency bureaucrats generally have discretion to interpret and apply their own definitions. Rather than clarify federal jurisdiction, as promised, the proposed rule introduces vastly greater uncertainty.
By any fair reading, the proposed rule would federalize virtually all water in the nation, and much of the land, in direct contravention of Supreme Court precedent and express congressional policy in the Clean Water Act “to recognize, preserve, and protect the primary responsibilities and rights of States to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution, to plan the development and use . . . of land and water resources.” It is patently unreasonable and should be amended or withdrawn."

The full article with many comments added is here: