Obama’s Newest Executive Action Could Shred One Of Your Basic Rights
by B. Christopher Agee, Western Journalism Recent reports indicate federal bureaucrats are finalizing the details of a behemoth new Environmental Protection Agency mandate that would supersede property owners’ rights on any piece of land that contains any body of water – including a ditch that fills with rain water. Heritage Foundation Agricultural Policy Research Fellow Daren Bakst explained the ramifications of the rule, which will update the Clean Water Act of 1972, in an interview with The Blaze. “Property owners will not be able to engage in activities they should be able to engage in,” he said. “This will be devastating to private property rights.” Working in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA has developed guidelines declaring additional bodies of water – in addition to the lakes, rivers and streams addressed in the 1972 law – protected. This move comes after two separate Supreme Court rulings prohibiting the EPA and USACE’s previous attempts to expand on the Clean Water Act. The EPA published an article explaining its motivation in promoting the new government mandate and addressing public backlash over its interest in ditches and other insignificant water accumulations. “We’re limiting protection to ditches that function like tributaries and can carry pollution downstream – like those constructed out of streams,” the blog post stated. “Our proposal talked about upland ditches, and we got feedback that the word ‘upland’ was confusing, so we’ll approach ditches from another angle.” Though the Obama administration is poised to announce the final version of the rule change, opponents continue to voice their criticism. House Republicans even picked up some bipartisan support in a recent vote to block the rule. Speaker John Boehner explained why many in the chamber oppose it. “The administration’s decree to unilaterally expand federal authority is a raw and tyrannical power grab that will crush jobs,” he declared. Should federal agencies have control over private property? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.