PIERCE COLUMN: EPA does not have authority to change laws

Published 8:40 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Alabama citizens should be extremely concerned about a proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency that would change the interpretation of the words “navigable waters” to include ponds, ditches and isolated wetlands. In shot, this would allow the EPA to require homeowners to buy permits for simple, everyday tasks from spraying weeds in their yards to digging a hole to plant a tree. If not permitted, the EPA could levy steep fines on property owners.

This proposed rule would particularly hurt agriculture in Alabama. With profit margins already tight, adding the costs of permits for simple farm activities could cripple family farmers.

This severe restriction of private property rights cannot be allowed. Congress and the Supreme Court have previously rejected the EPA’s attempts to expand their control into people’s backyards. Now, the EPA is trying to get around the Congress by adopting this rule.

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We must tell the EPA that it does not have the authority to change current laws. Concerned citizens may comment on the proposed rule through Oct. 20. Please join me in letting the EPA know they should Ditch the Rule. Submit your comments and find more information at ditchtherule.fb.org.

Guest columnist Linda Pierce is president of the Crenshaw County Farmers Federation.