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On Friday, the EPA was dealt another loss by a federal judge as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit authorized a national stay against the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule under the Clean Water Act. This comes after a federal judge in North Dakota had already granted a preliminary injunction against the EPA in August, only a few hours before the rule was about to be implemented.
The rule in question, if carried out, would be a smack in the face of private property rights across the country, as the regulation would allow many new bodies of water to be vulnerable to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act. Specifically, the rule would further apply to creeks, ponds, and even ditches, many of which are present on the private property of average Americans, and would produce many more opportunities for EPA overreach. This would allow the government to control many aspects of these water sources, as they could prevent land development if they deem the project to be environmentally harmful to the bodies of water that may reside on the property. The regulatory costs and burdens of such edicts from the EPA would be astounding, depending on the situations they could apply the rule to.
However, the rule itself has continued to brush up against serious opposition from Congressional Republicans, energy companies, and farmers, especially since the latter group could feel some severely adverse effects if the EPA chooses to target them. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey also spoke out in favor of the decision and against WOTUS stating, “[T]his decision is a critical victory in our fight against this onerous federal overreach. We have said from the beginning that this new rule does not pass legal muster, and had it been allowed to remain in effect, homeowners, farmers, and a host of other entities across our states would have found themselves subject to a costly regime of new, complicated federal regulations.”
Hopefully, the EPA will continue to be challenged in court regarding their proposed rule, especially since thirty-one states and state agencies have already started to protest the legality of WOTUS. Government overreach should never be tolerated, especially when it poses such a massive threat to private property rights across the nation.