Originally Posted by Bfish
From the response above, it plainly obvious that very few have actually read the proposed act. It is not an expansion of any agency current powers.
I have worked in the environmental industry for over 20 years. Much of that time has been spent doing Wetland Delineation, watershed protection, Superfund site cleanup monitoring and storm water work. I can tell you from experience that the most innocent looking words can become sledgehammers in the hands of the right bureaucrat with the support of the right groups. I have read some of the text and I don't like what I see. Wetlands regulation may be the best example of what you can do with innocent sounding words. In the 1987 Manual it clearly states that the federal government only has jurisdiction over navigable waterways. Seems pretty straight forward right? Navigable is after all a pretty definable term. That is until a Corps of Engineers Bureaucrat gets a hold of it. Then it becomes any water that is any way connected to any navigable body of water. Look at the map of any watershed and you will see that can get to be a pretty expansive definition. But it gets worse. What about the mud hole in a field? That is jurisdictional also because when it rains the mud hole might overflow and the water might make its way into a stream that is part of the watershed of a navigable river. This is not theory this is a reality that I have dealt with more than once. I have seen construction of a playground on church property stopped because of just such a mud hole that the church created when they used the dirt as fill for their parking lot. The old Manual also stated that the wetland in question had to be over 1 acre in size to be jurisdictional, not if the Corps didn't want it to be. The new Manual is even worse. The joke in the environmental community is "any land can be a wetland if you try hard enough". There is a whole section called problem wetlands that basically says just that. Even if your site meets none of the requirements outlined in the Manual it can still be a wetland if it has special properties as outlined by the Corps. The last delineation I did I actually determined it was not a wetland by standard, but listed it as one because of the special circumstances in the problem section. Surprisingly the young woman I was working with at the state level let it pass as non-jurisdictional because she didn't feel she could justify the argument in adjudication if called on to do so. Score one for our side.
I know this is a long post, but I take very serious any government regulations no matter how benign they look at first or on paper, and wanted to point out why. They are always written so they can be interpreted in many ways and there is always a bureaucrat or judge available to interpret it in a way friendly to the feds and their enviro-whacko friends. I have had a government lawyer actually admit to me that the EPA Superfund regs were written knowingly in violation of the historical precedent of protection under ex post facto law, but federal judges have ruled in the case of CERCLIS that is acceptable.
I would prefer the management and regulations stay in the hands of the states. There is no reason why states can't band together in regional groups to deal with the issues surrounding the waterways they share without the feds stepping in and nationalizing it. If mediation is necessary fine, but not nationalization. As for the international issues read the text of the U.N. Law of the Seas Treaty, it is not very kind to national sovereignty. It has also never been ratified by the US Senate as required by the Constitution, but I distinctly remember reading twice on the first page of this interim report that the federal government was going to abide by the rules of the Treaty anyway. We won't even go into climate change which was also mentioned
I love to fly fish and want the places I fish to be protected from over fishing and poor management practices, but I do not trust this bunch in Washington. I know who they answer to and it is not the fishing community, nor the average American citizen.