I was at a conference recently where the speaker stated that the U.S. Government is the biggest lawbreaker in the Nation. The EPA would seem to prove that statement.
From the outset, the EPA has abused its power under the Clean Water Act. Whereas the Act prohibits discharges of pollutants into “navigable waters” and acknowledges the rights and responsibility of the States to protect local waters, the EPA claims the Act applies to “nonnavigable waters.” Yes, ALL of them. Twice the Supreme Court has struck down the EPA’s overly broad jurisdictional interpretations. Last year I testified at a committee hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives about EPA regulatory abuse. That hearing was convened to address the EPA’s war on surface coal mining, particularly in West Virginia. A case in point was the EPA’s unilateral revocation of a Clean Water Act discharge permit issued to the Mingo Logan Mine. Although there had been no change in circumstances or the law, and the State certified the mine was in complete compliance with all water quality standards, and had been for several years, and the Corps defended the permit, the EPA arrogantly withdrew the permit.
How did the EPA justify this action? Well … it simply adopted new discharge standards and declared the mine out of compliance. As we noted here, a federal judge excoriated the agency for its abuse of power and reinstated the permit. But that didn’t stop the EPA from extending its new discharge standards to other mines in the State. Fortunately, another federal judge struck down those standards as a violation of federal law. MetroNews has a good article on the ruling here entitled Federal Judge: EPA Overstepped Authority. But don’t expect EPA to change its heavy handed tactics to control local land and water use. The EPA is a law unto itself!