This is Truly Deja Vu all over again!

April 11, 2012

by Tom Stark
Parkersburg, WV

Some time prior to the 2010 election, about the time the revisions to the Clean Water Act were being debated in Congress, I composed a blog that I never published simply because I had too many things going on at the time and actually forgot that it was in the file and ready to go.

When I ran across it this morning, I was truly awed by how little has changed since the summer of 2010 in spite of the turnover in Congress.  Were it not for the discussion of Senate Bill 787, it might just as well have been written yesterday, so I am using it here to demonstrate this disturbing point…

In the current climate of big-government liberalism, the people sent to Washington, D.C. seem to have an endless craving to control everything on earth (under and over it, too).  So what’s next on their agenda after Health Care, Energy, Immigration (oh, wait, that’s one they should be controlling but aren’t)?  If the liberal wish list comes to pass, they will very soon own our children, schools, doctors, hospitals, car companies, gas stations, voter registration, and even control those pesky small businesses with union bosses and card check.  That’s right – there will be nothing left for them to take but our air and water.

But wait – Cap and Trade takes control of our Air, and did you know that Washingtonis now going after Water in a big way?  A proposed amendment to the Clean Water Act of 1972, passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee recently, would have a far more insidious effect than one might think.  Senate Bill 787 was introduced by Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold, allegedly in the name of “clearing up confusing language with regard to ‘navigable waters.’ ”

At least that’s what they would have you believe.  But let’s look at what it actually does:

Simply stated, the Clean Water Act, as amended by this Congress, would expand jurisdiction of the 1972 Act over all water bodies whether navigable or not.  That means farm ponds, creeks, shallow rivers, drainage ditches, puddles in the road?   Where does it stop?  ANY WATER BODY including “intermittent” water bodies.  PERIOD.   Click the link below to read the summary of this bill – it contains a complete list of what is proposed to be added to Federal jurisdiction.

Now, consider the “enforcement arms” of this act.   The Corps of Engineers and the EPA.   What a twosome!   So now the EPA can enter your little farm in rural Taylor County, WV, and force you to fence off all of the water bodies on your property to prevent animal waste from reaching the pond or stream (those nasty prime beef cattle you raise to earn a living have terrible hygiene habits, don’t they?).

How do the cattle drink, you ask?   Well, you will probably have to obtain their drinking water in a manner that protects the source from any contamination from the cattle, and does not disturb some obscure endangered insect as determined by a newly appointed DC bureaucrat.  Perhaps tie into a water main and pay for it or drill a well and provide mechanical systems to prevent any contamination?  Either way, expect new rules and regulations.

Ka-ching! Ka-ching!  Can you hear the costs adding up in order to comply?   Doesn’t it hurt to feel that big Government hand trying to pry all the scarce money out of your pocket and into the Federal Treasury (in the form of fines), or into the hands of some contractor (union plumbers!) certified by the EPA to provide a separate water system for your cattle to their specifications.

And don’t think if you raise vegetables you are safe.  You soil the land with your “deadly” fertilizers and chemical pesticides and they can’t be allowed to wash into any ponds or streams on or crossing your land either… Same results. 

Any way you cut it, this “simple change in wording” could alter a farmer’s life in amazing ways.  Might even make you think that farming is something that used to be a great way to live and raise a family.   But then, that was before we let the system get out of control.  The Feingold bill is legislation proposing to solve a non-existent problem for no reason and no good purpose.

Did you think that the good Senator Feingold is doing all this in the name of the environment?  None of us are opposed to maintaining a pristine planet, but unfortunately, that’s not what the Majority party has in mind.  By expanding the power of the Federal Government to regulate all standing water everywhere, they would gain jurisdiction on local lands, over matters that were previously reserved to the States.  And by delegating the regulations and enforcement to the EPA, they place massive power in the hands of unelected bureaucrats, free from the votes of the people.

If you don’t like it, you face Federal opponents with unlimited funding, police forces, and a staff of lawyers, but you won’t be able to pin any blame on the “elected representatives”.  Once again, this proposed legislation violates the Constitution, specifically, the Tenth Amendment, which specifically prohibited the Federal Government from acts like trying to claim power over a pond on a farm in the middle of a State and assigning it to unelected bureaucrats to rule over.  At best, any problems related to such water should be reserved to the States or to the People.

There is far more at stake in the upcoming election than meets the untrained eye.   Forces are at work in this country to forever change it from what it was destined to be when it was founded.  And no, I am not paranoid, just careful with actions infringing on our ability to enjoy the promise of liberty our Constitution gives us.  In the case of the legislation above for example, here is the position I would take:

  1. It is unconstitutional to regulate local matters such as water wherever it pools.
  2. The new matters to be regulated do not connect to any waters that could remotely be claimed to involve any “interstate” matters.  Do not tell me about the natural runoff of water to somewhere that you can then claim is Federal.
  3. There is no benefit to be derived, but there will be significant taxpayer cost to employ the people to monitor and enforce the proposed law.
  4. Any laws and regulations that add complexity and cost to the lives and businesses of the People are to be avoided.  Give the People the freedom to do what they want on their own land instead of over-regulating them.

It’s time every concerned citizen used every resource at his/her disposal to learn what is going on and insist that our representatives  protect us from this kind of legislation rather than encourage it.  Our precious liberty is at stake.

Link to a summary of Senate Bill 787:





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Tags: Congress, control, Environmental Protection Agency, Government, power, states rights, statism




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