New Clean Water Act Regulations May Affect Permaculture Ponds & Swales

Wendy S. Delmater
By Wendy S. Delmater on Fri, Nov 28, 2014 - 5:15pm

Think the stream or pond or maybe even well on your property is yours? Think again.

While Americans were getting ready for Thanksgiving, it seems a boatload of regulations were announced - I suppose TPTB hoped we would not notice.

“As a matter of policy and law, impoundments do not de-federalize a water, even where there is no longer flow below the impoundment,” the EPA states (PDF of New Regulation), adding that tributaries will get similar treatment. The agency says that even tributaries which are man-made could fall under EPA authority, this includes ponds, canals, impoundments and ditches.

EPA Proposes Its Most Expensive Regulation to Date

While most people will understandably be focusing on celebrating Thanksgiving with their families, the White House plans to quietly release plans for 3,415 new regulations, 189 of which will cost more than $100 million apiece.

And here is the part pertaining to water rights, bolded emphasis mine. 

But probably the most fought-over rules to be finalized by the EPA next year will be its redefining of the “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The EPA will issue its redefinition next year, according to the agenda.

Federal lawmakers from both parties, along with companies from virtually every sector of the economy, have opposed the rule, saying it greatly expands the EPA’s power to regulate even small bodies of water on private property.

“The ‘waters of the U.S.’ rule may be one of the most significant private property grabs in U.S. history,” said Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter, adding “they want to take another step toward outright permitting authority over virtually any wet area in the country, while at the same time providing a new tool for environmental groups to sue private property owners.”

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