Just as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has used the Clean Air Act to broaden the scope of their authority way beyond its original intention with rules like MACT and CSAPR, the Clean Water Act is becoming a tool of overreach by the out of control agency.
Barack Obama and the EPA’s Lisa Jackson have made it clear through their actions that they will circumvent the legislature by using regulatory enforcement to enact Obama’s green dreams, and now it seems that circumvention includes the Supreme Court of the United States.
During the Bush presidency, a series of Supreme Court decisions acknowledged the limits of reach for the Clean Water Act. Most notably, the Supreme Court clarified that federal jurisdiction did not extend to wetlands and other “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. Through the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook Country v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2001) and Raponos v. U.S. (2006) the Supreme Court established that private property rights still mattered even in light of the Clean Water Act and that the federal government did not have authority over them.
This of course isn’t stopping Barack Obama and Lisa Jackson from moving forward anyway.
It’s important to remember the original purpose of the Clean Water Act (1972). It gives the federal government and the EPA the authority to regulate “navigable waterways.” In other words, not a ditch out front with a lot of water in it and certainly not acres upon acres of private or state owned wetlands. Yet, regulating these types of waters is precisely what the EPA is in the midst of doing.
The Army Corps (pronounced core) of Engineers and the EPA are in the process of finalizing “Draft Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act,” which is a fancy way of saying “we’re going to go out and change the definition of certain bodies of water so that we can pretend they fall within the Supreme Court’s definitions.”
The Barrasso-Heller Amendment, introduced by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), was created to prevent the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA from incorporating those Obama changes into the regulatory guidelines, which serves the purpose of distinguishing precisely what the Supreme Court had already covered when it established the clear limitations of the Act.