Niagara Gazette

Columns

April 22, 2014

CONFER: Property rights and the Clean Water Act

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — This would allow the federal government to regulate how you manage any body of water on your own private property. They would be allowed to control what you do and how you do it and would be empowered to force you to mitigate anything they might perceive as detrimental.

This will have an undeniably negative impact on millions of property owners. Those who will have to answer for land and water they own will be: people who manage their ponds for fishing and leisure; miners who need water to pump their mines and wells; ranchers who need watering holes for their cattle; farmers who need to irrigate their fields; and any homeowner with a stream in his lawn or woodlot.

Not only would the revised act be an affront to personal property rights, but it is also devised in strict defiance of the rights of the people as a whole. Our nation was built on a republican style of government. Governance was supposed to come from the bottom up, from local to state to national, not the other way around as we’ve become so accustomed (forced) to. The EPA’s rule would only extend this ill-advised practice as it would supersede local and state laws and control. Those entities are the ones that should have the regulatory power, if any at all.

Also, almost every year this century members of Congress have tried to change the language of the Clean Water Act in similar ways. Since they failed, they are taking the inappropriate — even illegal — route of using executive power to fashion new laws.

The nearly-400-page draft of the EPA’s proposed expansion of power can be downloaded at epa.gov/uswaters, a website that also includes a trove of documents supporting the agency's views.

The public comment period is not yet open, but will be within the next two months. When that time comes, it is imperative that you participate in the process, because it’s your last chance.

Know that the modified language of the Clean Water Act is a disaster waiting to happen, one that’s in lockstep with the continued erosion of what it really means to be an American.

Bob Confer is a Gasport resident and vice president of Confer Plastics Inc. in North Tonawanda. Email him at bobconfer@juno.com.

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