November 24, 2013
A river runs through it -- and Uncle Sam isn't far behind.
That's what several Republican lawmakers and even state farming groups and local governments are warning, after a draft rule from the Environmental Protection Agency proposed expanding which waterways are federally protected under the Clean Water Act.
The concern is that the move could give the feds authority over virtually any stream or ditch, and hand environmentalists another way to sue property owners. In other words, critics say, the government might soon be able to declare jurisdiction over a seasonal stream in your backyard.
If so, good luck getting a permit to expand building space on your property, or marketing your land to prospective developers.
"(The) draft rule sent to the White House for review could expand the EPA's regulatory power to give the agency unprecedented new authority over seasonal streams and ditches on private property," Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, said in a statement to FoxNews.com.
The EPA flatly denies this charge. Officials told FoxNews.com that the draft rule, which was published on Nov. 8, is nothing like its detractors claim. "The proposed rule would not expand EPA's or the (Army Corps of Engineers') jurisdiction or protect any new waters that have not historically been covered under the Clean Water Act," the agency told FoxNews.com.
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