Monday, October 13, 2014

Schmidt files objection to EPA’s Proposed Rule on 'Waters of the U. S.'

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today that he has filed a formal objection to proposed new federal water regulations that could significantly extend the regulatory reach of the federal government onto Kansas private property.

Schmidt and 10 other state attorneys general and 6 governors submitted a joint comment letter last week to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifying significant problems with the proposed new definition of “Waters of the United States.” The EPA, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, proposed a new regulatory definition in April that would result in the intrusive regulation of small waterways, ditches and ponds on Kansas farms, ranches, and land development.

“The sum total of these provisions is that the proposed rule would place virtually every river, creek, stream, along with vast amounts of neighboring lands, under the Agencies’ Clean Water Act jurisdiction.  Many of these features are dry the vast majority of the time and are already in use by farmers, developers or homeowners,” the attorneys general and governors wrote. “States by virtue of being closer to communities are in the best position to provide effective, fair, and responsive oversight of water use, and have consistently and conscientiously done so.”

The joint comment letter asserts that the proposed rule unlawfully and unconstitutionally seeks to exercise federal jurisdiction over local water and land use management, while making it impossible for farmers, developers and homeowners to know when they may carry on their activities without obtaining an extremely expensive federal permit.

“This federal power grab is unnecessary, unwise and contrary to the Clean Water Act.  We don’t need a federal regulator on every acre of every field and pasture. The proposed rule needs to be withdrawn,” Schmidt said.

The deadline for public comment on the proposed rule is November 14, 2014.  A decision on whether to finalize, modify or revoke the proposed rule is not expected until 2015.