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How Federal Agencies Expand Their Power

Published in Blog on July 17, 2017 by Convention Of States Project

Fox News reported yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency plans to adopt a proposal that would expand the definition of federal waterways to include seasonal and rain-dependent waterways.

In Texas, such an expansion would stiffen penalties for polluting waterways that supply drinking water to more than 11 million Texans and, according to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot, "erode private property rights and have devastating effects on the landowners of Texas."

The EPA's sudden definition change exemplifies the primary means by which federal agencies expand their power: little by little, the EPA, the IRS, and the other bureaucracies in D.C. tweak and change the rules to give themselves jurisdiction over more and more facets of American life.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality spokesman Terry Clawson hit the nail on the head when he said the TCEQ is "concerned that EPA's proposed rule expands its jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act without Congressional approval." (Emphasis added)

"Changing the definition of federal waterways" doesn't sound so dangerous, until we realize the consequence of this change is to expand the EPA's jurisdiction without approval or oversight from anyone.

Regulation itself isn't the problem. The problem is when agencies have the power to regulate without the consent, through Congress, of the people who will face the consequences of that regulation.

Enough is enough. Let's put decision-making power back where it belongs: with the people. 

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