WOTUS, Hilltop are examples of overreach
Two recent examples of water regulation show overreach on the part of governmental institutions.
The recent withdrawal of the Waters Of The United States, or WOTUS, rules are good news for landowners who would have seen increased costs of compliance from the Environmental Protection Agency, all for little, if any, benefit.
President Trump directed federal agencies to consider interpreting the term “navigable waters” in a manner consistent with the opinion of Justice Antonin Scalia in Rapanos v. United States. That Supreme Court decision defined the phrase “waters of the U.S. to include only … relatively permanent, standing or continuously flowing bodies of water. The phrase does not include channels through which water flows intermittently or ephemerally, or channels that periodically provide drainage for rainfall.”
The WOTUS rules, imposed under the Obama administration, potentially would have had regulators overseeing every drainage stream and rain puddle on a landowner’s spread, leading to undue burdens of compliance and oversight.
We have always maintained that longtime landowners are the best stewards of the land. As 90 percent of Texas land is privately owned, there is no need for such drastic federal oversight.
Locally, a case involving dining favorite Hilltop Café, profiled in the July 5 Standard-Radio Post, showed overreach from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Not once has owner Johnny Nicholas ever had an illness or issue tied to his water pumped from the aquifer and adequately cleaned. But the TCEQ seeks a “one-size-fits-all” regulation and has imposed fines. The agency also wants Nicholas to install a water filtration system at a cost of about $60,000. That is a huge burden for a small business serving plates of food for income.
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