The Clean Water Restoration Act (S. 787) is likely to move forward in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this week. This sounds like a great piece of legislation from the name, but one doesn’t have to think long about the implications of the bill to see it as one of the biggest power grabs in history. This bill seeks to amend and replace the regulative authority of the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Act over only navigable waters to all water within the United States. The way the bill is worded exempts no drop of water in the United States from federal jurisdiction, drawing no clear distinction between whether it is in a national park or is being used to irrigate crops.
“With its claim of authority over ‘all interstate and intrastate waters,’ this bill pushes the limits of federal power to an extreme not matched by any other law, probably in the history of this country. Neither an ornamental pond nor the proverbial kitchen sink are excluded,” says M. Reed Hopper, Principal Attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation.
The bill lays the framework for unprecedented control over private property by the federal government. As the current law generally only affects navigable waters (one a boat can float on), its authority is largely constitutional under the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. Although federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers have often pushed the limits of their jurisdiction over water bodies, this amendment gives them free reign over all water, wherever it is located. The U.S. Supreme Court sought to clarify the extent of the jurisdiction of these federal agencies under the Clean Water Act in cases in 2001 and 2006. The courts ruled that for waters to be federally regulated, they must be relatively permanent or directly adjacent to a navigable waterway. But this amendment seeks to return and expand excessive jurisdictional leeway over water on private land to these agencies.
Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau, explains, “The legislation would grant — for the first time ever — the Environmental Protection Agency and the Corps of Engineers jurisdiction over all wet areas within a state, including groundwater, ditches, pipes, streets, municipal storm drains and gutters. It would grant these same agencies — for the first time ever — authority over all activities affecting those waters, regardless of whether the activity is occurring in water or adds a pollutant…”
What does this mean for the typical residential landowner? Likely, a lot of hassle, expense and time spent in court. The legislation clearly states “all waters.” Those of you with farm, stock and even goldfish ponds – beware.”
Senator Barbara Boxer of California has cosponsored this bill (along with 23 others) to show her support for this statist approach to complete environmental control. An identical bill in the House gained 176 cosponsors before expiring at the end of the session. This bill proposes to grant federal legislative governance over the most essential compound for life, a power far surpassing moral and constitutional bounds. Would even the water within your body’s cells be owned by the federal government? There are no clear bounds to the potential newfound authority of this bill, and that is why it must be stopped. Water contained on private property would be at the mercy of federal regulators to determine what the owner can and cannot do to it. As water fills soil pores, essentially this amendment transfers landowners’ rights to the federal government. The EPA and Corps would be free to dictate land management practices anywhere, without compensating landowners for the cost of the restrictions. This also brings up Fifth Amendment concerns, as arguably private property is being commandeered for public use without any promise of ‘just compensation.’
Meanwhile, the U.N. and its globalist cronies over at the Council on Foreign Relations are pushing for the Senate to ratify the Convention on Law of the Sea. The Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) proposes to put “all ocean space” under the control of the U.N.’s Division of Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea (DOALOS). DOALOS would have the authority to regulate all the resources the oceans provide, including the seafloor, air above the oceans, fishing and shipping. This treaty would give the U.N. control over 71 percent of the earth’s surface and override traditional territorial waters along coastlines. The treaty has not had any major action taken on it in the Senate after it was first introduced in 1982. The president, vice-president and secretary of state have in the past argued for the passage of the treaty, and is now being promoted under the guise of piracy control. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated in January that pushing for ratification of the treaty would be one of her top priorities under the Obama administration.
While the treaty has signed and ratified by 156 countries and the European community, but that is not any excuse to hand over such enormous power to any centralized government. As a consequence of the ocean’s interconnectedness to the atmosphere and land’s water that flows into it, the treaty may be used as a back door for the U.N. to push global pollution and carbon emission regulations on the United States without having to pass any more treaties. There is no harm that can come from the United States not ratifying the treaty, and only the possibility of abuse from the U.N. if we do. Contact your senators and representative today to alert them to the ominous potentials of S. 787 and LOST.
Read S. 787 by clicking here.
Read the Law of the Sea here.