The folks at the EPA routinely go out of their way to make life difficult and more expensive for Americans. The latest lunacy is how they’re regulating water. This example comes out of Virginia, but these things are going on everywhere.
On Friday, Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II appeared in federal district court in Alexandria to contest the EPA’s use of the Clean Water Act to punish Virginia and Fairfax County for sending too much water into a watershed. “These regulations are expensive, cumbersome and incredibly difficult to implement,” Mr. Cuccinelli said. “And if we can’t stop this from happening in Fairfax County, it’s bound to happen across the state over and over again and at a huge price tag to the taxpayers of the commonwealth.”
The EPA’s latest action is a classic example of how Washington agencies constantly expand their purpose. Congress first adopts legislation bearing a title nobody could reasonably oppose — who’s against clean water? Over time, the courts and bureaucrats systematically extend the meaning of formerly innocuous definitions. Now instead of keeping lead out of drinking water, the agency is keeping water out of creeks.
Specifically, the agency has established a set of limits for the amount of water that can flow into Accotink Creek, which runs through Fairfax County and drains into the Potomac. The Virginia Department of Transportation and the county are on the hook for storm water that falls from the sky onto county and city roads. This water then flows into storm drains that empty into the creek. EPA hypothesizes that heavy water flows stir up “sediment,” which does fall under the Clean Water Act’s definitions. Instead of going after sediment levels directly, however, EPA has declared it can go ahead and directly target water-flow levels, which Mr. Cuccinelli says goes too far in pushing the jurisdictional envelope.