It seems incredible, but a single missing word could turn a water law into a government land grab so horrendous even a U.S. Supreme Court justice warned it would “put the property rights of every American entirely at the mercy of Environmental Protection Agency employees.”
The missing word is “navigable.” The Obama administration is proposing a rule titled “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act,” which would strike “navigable” from American water law and redefine any piece of land that is wet at least part of the year, no matter how remote or isolated it may be from truly navigable waters, as “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS.
WE won't reproduce the entire article here; please click here to continue reading.
Update: back in July 2013, WE posted this article, in which Pacific Legal Foundation won a case in the Supreme Court, related to wetlands mitigation for land disturbance - "Koontz v. St. Johns River Management District." In addition, they won a case against the EPA in the United States Supreme Court brought by a couple in Idaho, who were being harassed for wetlands violations, allegedly brought about while preparing to build their dream home on land that is only wet when it rains once in a while.
WE believe this latest usurpation attempt is due to these losses in the Supreme Court. The EPA is trying to make these kinds of setbacks "go away". Pacific Legal has been consistent in its opinion here and here, about these kinds of overreach.
Mission creep may be the biggest danger faced by citizens at the hands of bureaucracies. We can't appeal every one to the Supreme Court, even if we could win them all.