PJ Media - WASHINGTON — While the country is immersed in Obamacare headlines and a congressional tussle over delays and mandates, the Obama administration is stealthily moving toward unprecedented control over private property under a massive expansion of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act authority.
The proposed rule, obtained by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee in advance of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s testimony at a Thursday oversight hearing, widely broadens the definition of waterways over which the federal government has jurisdiction to as little as a water ditch in a backyard.
The Clean Water Act redefinition of “waters of the United States” would include all ponds, lakes, wetlands and natural or manmade streams that have any effect on downstream navigable waters — whether on public lands or private property.
And, committee Republicans note, the administration is trying to move forward with the rule at a breakneck pace, relying on the findings of a scientific report that hadn’t undergone peer review at the time the rule was submitted to the White House for approval.
“The EPA’s draft water rule is a massive power grab of private property across the U.S. This could be the largest expansion of EPA regulatory authority ever,” Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said after seeing the proposal. “If the draft rule is approved, it would allow the EPA to regulate virtually every body of water in the United States, including private and public lakes, ponds and streams.”
“The Obama administration’s latest power play to regulate America’s waterways is an unprecedented effort to control the use of private property,” Smith added, promising to question McCarthy this week about her agency’s “ever-expanding regulatory agenda.”
The EPA has made no secret of wanting to balloon its jurisdiction over all waters, even testing the limits by going after businesses that could potentially taint any type of water on its way to a body of water...