Important Step Toward Curbing the Federal Government’s Intrusion on States

The 6th Circuit’s order to halt implementation of the EPA’s new "Waters of the United States" rule is a win for all Americans, but especially for farmers, ranchers, and landowners in the state of Texas. Last week's order is also an important step toward curbing the federal government’s relentless intrusion on the states—power grabs that have become standard practice for President Obama’s EPA. I applaud the states for fighting to preserve their constitutional authority against an ever-expanding federal regulatory state.

The court’s stay is not a permanent victory. It does, however, put the breaks on what has become a lawless, runaway federal agency that all too often tramples on hardworking Americans and their businesses. While this stay does not invalidate the onerous, damaging EPA regulation entirely, it does temporarily halt its implementation.

Under the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ "Waters of the United States" rule, dry ditches that have not had water in them for years – but that may have signs of water once in them – can potentially be subject to significant and costly regulations. This heavy-handed rule could bring virtually every puddle and ditch in America within the jurisdiction of the federal government, allowing it to dictate what people can and cannot do with their own property.

Furthermore, regulatory confusion and uncertainty surrounding this rule forces landowners to incur great costs, since it is difficult to comply with a rule lacking clarity. I am hopeful that the courts will use this case as an opportunity to reassert the appropriate balance between the federal government and the states that makes our nation unique.


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