Calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest effort to extend its control over virtually all U.S. waterways “inexplicable, arbitrary and devoid of reasoned process,” a federal judge has just blocked another attempt by President Obama to bypass Congress.
The Washington Times reports that Judge Ralph Erickson has issued a temporary injunction that prevents the EPA “from claiming oversight of millions of acres of land that contain small bodies of water.”
Critics of the EPA initiative have argued that the far-reaching new rule would give Obama’s official environmental activists vast new powers that would threaten water rights and usage by untold numbers of individuals, including farmers.
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The Times article notes the critics’ argument that “the EPA would control lands near ditches with no possible connection to the rivers and lakes that the [original] law was designed to protect.”
The judge in North Dakota who blocked the EPA’s sweeping new rule agreed with critics, supporting his injunction with strong words that slap down what many see as yet another power grab by the Obama administration:
The rule asserts jurisdiction over waters that are remote and intermittent waters. No evidence actually points to how these intermittent and remote wetlands have any nexus to a navigable-in-fact water.
Thirteen states had sued to block the EPA from implementing its new water rule. Immediately after the federal judge hit the brakes on the agency’s action, the EPA put out a statement saying it would honor the judge’s order only in the states that had taken the administration to court. The remaining thirty-seven states, said the EPA, would see the sweeping changes to water regulations go into effect right away.
The Washington Times reports:
“In all other respects, the rule is effective on August 28,” the agency said in a statement. “The agencies [EPA and Army Corps of Engineers] are evaluating these orders and considering next steps in the litigation.'”
As the Times points out, this action by the federal judge in North Dakota is “the latest in a long list” of federal rulings challenging Obama’s authority to expand the reach and power of the executive branch.
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Western Journalism has reported extensively on the actions of the federal court in Texas that put a halt, at least temporarily, to Obama’s executive amnesty orders for illegal immigrants. That case is working its way through the judicial system, as are many others alleging presidential overreach.
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