The Environmental Protection Agency has released a final “Clean Water Rule” that one critical voice is warning will put all tributaries under the control of federal regulators – basically, anything with a bed, bank or “ordinary high water mark,” including ditches, he states.
Former Rep. Larry Combest wrote in the Hill: “Not only does it allow the EPA onto their land, but it throws the gate wide open to environmental group-led citizen lawsuits that promise to carry the rule’s reach beyond what even the EPA has envisioned. … The rule itself is virtually boundless.”
And that means ranchers, cattle farmers and dairy producers need to tread carefully, he said.
The rule, Combest warned, also includes a reworking of the normal definition of “adjacent,” giving feds control of properties that actually abut water, the Hill reported. Specifically, he said, “adjacent” has been stretched to include “neighboring,” “contiguous” and “bordering,” while floodplain standards have been increased from 100 years to 500 years.
Violators will have to pay up to $37,500 per day in fines, the Hill said.
Combest served in Congress for the 19th district of Texas between 1985 and 2002.