AG: EPA water rules a power grab

Attorney General Scott Pruitt said the EPA’s release of a clean water rule aimed at protecting streams and wetlands is nothing more than an egregious power grab by the EPA to expand its regulatory reach.

“This is an egregious power grab by the EPA and an attempt to reach beyond the scope granted to it by Congress,” Pruitt said. “This rule renders the smallest of streams and farm ponds subject to EPA jurisdiction. This means that the first stop for property owners is the EPA, which may deem the property owners’ waters subject to the EPA’s unpredictable and costly regulatory regime. It would be a terrible blow to the private property rights of Americans. The rule also displaces states from their historic regulatory role under the Clean Water Act. My office will pursue all available legal options to defend the interests of the state and all Oklahoma property owners.”

Traditionally, the EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act has been limited to “navigable waters,” a term always understood to apply only to large bodies of water that serve as pathways for interstate commerce.

The final “waters of the United States” rule issued Wednesday redefines the meaning of “navigable” waters under the Clean Water Act so that EPA now has jurisdiction over not just navigable, interstate waters, but also any waters that the EPA determines – in its sole discretion – has a “significant nexus” to navigable, interstate waters.