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New water laws opposed by Trinity County officials
Trinity Standard -
EPA to propose new regulations of the Clean Water Act GROVETON — Trinity County has chosen to oppose a Resolution to adopt a new rule proposed within the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) have proposed the new rule to be defined as "Waters of the United States" and would vastly expand the jurisdictionally authority of the Federal Clean Water Act entitled "Definition of Waters of the United States." This proposal would selectively interpret various Supreme Court decisions related to the jurisdictional authority of the CWA in order to develop guidance which will expand their own jurisdictional authority to include waters of the state and other waters previously not regulated under either the CWA or judicial proclamation, including some ditches, farm ponds, dry water ways and isolated wetlands. The new rule proposed, if adopted, would infringe upon the sovereignty of the states involved to appropriately regulate the waters of that prospective state and would require counties within the state to obtain costly and burdensome permits for construction of small bridges, culverts, routine maintenance on ditches, canals and other water conveyances. It would also infringe on private property rights impairing land management activities in urban developments and agricultural activities. In 2011 the USEPA and the USACE proposed a change in their internal guidance that would have virtually the same effect as the current rules being proposed. County governments rallied against the implementation of the guidance. The Unites States Senate and the United States House of Representatives criticized the two agencies for trying to impose the new rule without congressional oversight. The Senate and US House rejected the rule. The Texas Farm Bureau is involved in an aggressive effort to respond to the proposed rules. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly found that federal jurisdiction under the CWA is limited. Only congress can make a new law and therefore any change in the jurisdictional power of a Federal Agency should occur as a result of the passage of Federal legislation.