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Dec 22

The Clean Water Act Being Rewritten to Greatly Increase Government Control and Reduce Our Freedoms, Rights and Choices

While most Americans are being distracted by the healthcare reform power and even Climategate and Copenhagen, the Government is inexorably legislating ways to insinuate itself into all aspects of our lives, further abridging our freedoms and rights. Operating under the radar, the Clean Water Act is being rewritten to encompass virtually every collection of water in this country, from lakes to rivers and streams to even temporary pools of water.

As Investors Business Daily characterized it:

This is not about clean water any more than cap-and-trade is about climate change. It is about increasing government power over every aspect of our lives. Every breath we take, and every drop we drink, they will be regulating us.

Sing Along: 'This Land Is EPA's Land'
Investors Business Daily

Regulations: The Clean Water Act is being rewritten to give a government bureaucracy the power to regulate every body of water from the Mississippi River to a rain-flooded field. The first casualty may be American coal.

With all the concern for the harm that cap-and-trade and regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant might do to the American economy and free markets, the Environmental Protection Agency is doing quite enough damage with an existing law on the books — the Clean Water Act. Congress plans to revise it to make it an even more powerful bludgeon against industry, energy producers and just plain folks.

The 1972 Clean Water Act was originally intended to protect the "navigable waters of the United States" — you know, the kind boats travel down. It was broadly and quickly interpreted to any pool of water in America capable of supporting a bathtub variety boat. The word "navigable" was forgotten and ignored, and even those trying to improve the environment were not immune.

In the name of clean water and wetlands-protection, people were literally being arrested for putting dirt on dirt. In August 1987, Bill Ellen was hired to construct a 103-acre wildlife sanctuary, including 10 duck ponds, on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay, on land so dusty it had to be watered down to protect construction workers' safety according to federal regulations.

But in September 1989, after three days of torrential downpour, angry government officials descended on his sanctuary looking for wetlands. Having found incriminating puddles, they arrested him for having the previous March dumped two loads of dirt where one federal agency said it was okay. It was also charged that the droppings of the migratory birds drawn to his ponds constituted waterway pollution.

For his crime against humanity, Bill Ellen was sentenced to six months in prison and four months of home detention. Guess he didn't notice the boats.

Such abuses of the law in which every puddle was considered protected eventually led to two Supreme Court decisions,
Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. United States in 2001, and Rapanos v. United States in 2006, which partially reined in these excesses.

The Clean Water Restoration Act of 2009 (S. 787), legislation that would challenge these Supreme Court rulings, is now moving through the Senate. Introduced by Sen. Russell Feingold, this legislation seeks to re-establish the nearly unlimited powers of the Clean Water Act.

"Well, this bill removes the word 'navigable,' so for ranchers and farmers who have mud puddles, prairie potholes — anything from snow melting on their land — all that water will now come under the regulation of the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency," warns Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

Aside from striking "navigable," the bill defines U.S. waters as "all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, the territorial seas, and all interstate and intrastate waters, and their tributaries, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams)," as well as "mudflats, sand flats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows" etc. Virtually everywhere water is or collects, even on a temporary basis, is covered.

Some 500 more jobs will have to be saved or created to make up for the 500 workers who will be laid off next year in West Virginia by Pittsburgh-based Consol Energy. The coal company blames lawsuits under the current Clean Water Act and other laws for the action.

The EPA is currently suspending 79 such surface mining permits in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. The agency says these permits could violate the Clean Water Act and warrant "enhanced" review.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says she's not against coal mining, but wants to see it "done in a way that minimizes impact to water quality."

This is not about clean water any more than cap-and-trade is about climate change. It is about increasing government power over every aspect of our lives. Every breath we take, and every drop we drink, they will be regulating us.

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May 9

How We’re Killing Our ‘Living Constitution’

While President Barack Obama says that he wants judges with "empathy" for certain groups, his concealed real goal is expanding the scope of the power of the federal government and reducing the restraints of the U.S. Constitution. Read full article

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