|"We're here to check water quality, citizen."|
The concern is that the move could give the feds authority over virtually any stream or ditch, and hand environmentalists another way to sue property owners. In other words, critics say, the government might soon be able to declare jurisdiction over a seasonal stream in your backyard.
If so, good luck getting a permit to expand building space on your property, or marketing your land to prospective developers.
Or, as a county regulator put it:
When it was released for public comment in October, Nita Taylor, county manager of Lincoln, New Mexico, told her fellow commissioners she interpreted the report as the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers seeking to "gain jurisdiction over all water in the United States, and all activities affecting all water; and to regulate water now considered entirely under state jurisdiction."
Other commissioners agreed and suggested joining forces with neighboring county governments to fight the EPA on this front. They see federal bureaucracy getting in the way of their land management. "It's bad enough with the state in charge. Turning it over to federal agencies would be disastrous," County Commission Chairman Jackie Powell told reporters.
Lets say you have a nice little rural property. Lets say there's a county ditch in the front of the property, and in the back there's a low spot that fills with water in winter and dries out in summer. Pretty much describes every rural property in the USA.
The new rule says that if the ditch empties into a "watercourse" or "wetland", meaning any seasonal creek, stream, rivulet or swampy bit, the EPA now regulates your property. Meaning they can come around any time they like, walk all around the place, stomping through your house and outbuildings in muddy boots and generally doing whatever the hell they want. No warrants, no nothing. Good exercise for the EPA SWAT team.
Yes EPA has SWAT teams. Plural. I'm guessing, but I think its safe to assume they have helicopters and armored vehicles too. Every podunk town sheriff has an MRAP armored vehicle these days, I can't see the EPA SWAT goofs doing without.
The Hages owned the targeted property, Pine Creek Ranch, which was a combination of private land and federal grazing allotments that together controlled 1,100 square miles of Nevada's High Desert. While the cow-calf operation is a normal sized ranch for the Nevada landscape (on average it takes 50 acres to feed one cow), the Hages controlled all the water on this vast landscape. The water is gravity flow to Las Vegas and gravity flow to Los Angeles.Well that case, which started in 1991, was still not settled this year, 2013. The Hages won the case posthumously in 2008, but even now the appeals still grind through the courts.
The Hages found themselves in the crosshairs of those seeking to destroy private ownership of America's resources through environmental regulations. In July of 1991, after the U.S. Forest Service confiscated their last remaining cattle and believed they had finally acquired this beautiful ranch property without paying a dime in compensation, Wayne and Jean did something never done before – they filed a claim for the taking of the rights they owned on the federal lands and their private property in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
What EPA wants to do is beat you up and take your stuff.