WOTUS: What would our founding fathers say?

 If the rule is upheld as written, it is about more than just EPA having jurisdiction over every drop of water on your land. It is about the continued erosion of private property rights, and it is about the death of state sovereignty and the supremacy of the federal government over all things.


A Handbook for Ranch Managers Hey Troy, I’ve got some old news. It has been that way ever since the day General Lee walked out of that courthouse. — jtl, 419

by in My View From The Country

EPA has crossed the line in pushing WOTUS.

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual   Every serious agricultural group has been putting a lot of effort into stopping or reforming the final Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule issued by EPA. When a federal district judge in North Dakota issued a preliminary injunction last Friday, agriculture thought it had won a battle in the larger war.

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewAnd we did, sort of. It is curious that EPA says the injunction only pertains to the 13 states included in that particular suit and that the rule will go into effect elsewhere. Typically, when a preliminary injunction is issued on a regulation, an agency stops implementation everywhere until the injunction is resolved. More than 30 states have already filed court challenges, so it is not an isolated case, or only of concern to the 13 states involved in the litigation before the North Dakota federal district court that issued the injunction.

Combat Shooter's Handbook Reconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps Institute The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other MisfitsThere has been a lot of concern not only about the rule itself, but also in the process leading up to its implementation. That is not a surprise to many who have dealt with EPA in the past, as it is an agency that seemingly has no desire for input. The 400 meetings it conducted after issuing the proposed rule had nothing to do with gathering input, but rather to explain why EPA was going to do what it had already decided to do.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)  The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3)More than 1 million comments were submitted with more than 60% being what they classify as “unique opposed” to the rule. Amazingly, 32 individual states opposed the rule, wanting it either withdrawn or seriously modified. Yet, EPA not only went forward, it essentially made a mockery of the entire rulemaking process by running a public relations campaign on behalf of the rule. What’s more, not only did the agency not address the concerns raised by those affected by the rule, it made it more onerous and intrusive. EPA actually expanded its jurisdiction in the final rule.

There isn’t time to go into all of the intricacies and ambiguous terms contained in the rule, but here are a few highlights:

The definition of tributary was expanded to a subjective definition where if the government thinks they can see a streambed, bank or ordinary high water mark, it is a tributary. The rule even says the Army Corps of Engineers can use sensing technology to determine tributaries, even though it is understood that this technology will find channels everywhere, including any erosion feature.

The final rule is a difficult and long read. It refers to things like declared “regional water treasures,” 100 year floodplains and any water within 4,000 feet of navigable water or a tributary. Remember that under the definition, tributaries can be found anywhere, including most of the arid West. This means EPA will take control of almost all wetlands and ponds under liberal interpretations of the rule.

The “nexus” part of the rule argues that large aquifers like the Ogallala recharge rivers and thus now potentially will also be regulated. By broad definition, it could be argued that all of Florida and a good part of the Southeast would be under EPA’s jurisdiction.

EPA continually said, among other things, that they weren’t interested in irrigation ditches and the like, and wouldn’t use erosion features as tributaries. But none of those clarifications were included in the final rule. In fact, after admitting the first offering was flawed, inconsistent and ambiguous, their only solution was to make the expansion of their authority essentially without limits. It doesn’t sound possible, but if the government can prove the water is used by an insect, is in a land feature that holds water or infiltrates groundwater, it could come under EPA jurisdiction.


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Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualPlanned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual. This is the ideal squeal to A Handbook for Ranch Managers.  Although the ecological principles remain the same, what was originally known as “The Savory Grazing Method” now answers to a multitude of different names: ranching for profit, holistic management, managed grazing, mob grazing, management intensive grazing, etc. Land & Livestock International, Inc. uses “Restoration Grazing” under its “Managing the Ranch as a Business” program.” No mater what you call it, this summary and synopsis will guide you step by step through the process and teach you how to use it as it was originally intended. No more excuses for failing to complete your grazing plans.

About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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