Oklahoma AG Pruitt Slams EPA Over 'Waters of the US' Power GrabWed, 27 May 2015 16:20:24 CDT
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt will be taking on the Obama Administration again. On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finalized the clean water rule. Pruitt said the rule aimed at protecting streams and wetlands is nothing more than attempt by 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," Attorney General 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."
In evaluating the rule, Pruitt said the state's lawyers have already found areas that are problematic. In a interview with the Radio Oklahoma Network Wednesday, he called the final rule 'unlawful'.
"This means the first stop for property landowners across the country will be the EPA, anytime they want to use their land and waters involved," Pruitt said.
Traditionally, the EPA's jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act has been limited to "navigable waters". This is a term that typically applies 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.
"This is significant over reach by the EPA," Pruitt said. "They are trying to involve themselves in landuse decisions made at the state and local level and it effects private property rights in a substantial way."
The Clean Water Rule will be effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Pruitt said Oklahoma will seek an injunction to keep the rule from going into effect.
Radio Oklahoma Network's Leslie Smith interviewed Attorney General Pruitt via phone Wednesday. Click or tap on the LISTENBAR below to listen to the full interview.
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