EPA and Army Corps attempt to usurp private property rights in South Dakota

Farm Forum

South Dakota could be facing upwards of 6.8 million acres and 163,000 additional stream miles that would be federally regulated as a result of the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers. While the agencies continue to claim their proposal does not expand the scope of the Clean Water Act, new interactive maps developed by a coalition of agricultural groups, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, illustrate how the proposal will impact property owners throughout the country.

“The maps highlight just how far the proposed rule would expand federal jurisdiction over waters and adjacent lands across the country,” said Ashley McDonald, NCBA environmental counsel. “The EPA and Corps have gone far beyond congressional intent and are attempting to control every drop of water and every piece of private land in this country.”

The maps detail 17 states’ perennial, intermittent and ephemeral streams as well as flood plains and wetlands that will likely be under regulation, though the groups say this is, at best, a conservative estimate. In many of the states, land under federal jurisdiction would double, threatening private property rights in the state.

“Instead of providing the clarity that so many people have asked for, the agencies have instead proposed a rule that muddies the water even further through their clever use of ambiguous and vague terminology,” said McDonald. “Their actions have only created more questions for farmers and ranchers. The agency’s proposed rule adds more layers of government bureaucracy and red tape and amounts to nothing more than a pervasive invasion of private property rights.”

If this proposed rule is not withdrawn, according to McDonald, family farmers and ranchers will find themselves at the “mercy of the regulatory whims of the federal government.”

South Dakota landowners should review the interactive maps to see how their property might be impacted by the WOTUS rule. Landowners are also strongly encouraged to submit comments on the proposed WOTUS rule by the October 20, 2014 comment deadline. Additional information and links to submit comments can be found on NCBA’s website at www.beefusa.orgor the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association website at