May 1, 2014
A report published by the Congressional Research Service points out that a proposed federal rule represents an indeterminate expansion of federal regulatory authority. The “Waters of the United States” rule, announced on April 21, “would increase the asserted scope of (Clean Water Act) jurisdiction” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Researchers concluded that language in the rule “applies to wetlands and non-wetland waters such as prairie potholes that are not considered traditionally navigable.”
Critics have argued that the proposal represents a stealth strategy to gain regulatory control over much of the nation’s land area. Officials at both agencies have claimed that the rule merely clarifies the application of the Clean Water Act in the wake of recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings.
The report is posted at http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43455.pdf. The proposed rule is available at http://www2.epa.gov/uswaters.
American Farm Bureau Federation staff members have prepared a website about the rule at http://ditchtherule.fb.org/