Hays County Commissioners Court Signs Resolution Opposing the Weakening of State Water Rights
Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – The Hays County Commissioners Court has unanimously approved a resolution opposing proposed new rules that would expand the authority of the Clean Water Act (CWA) to include previously unregulated waters such as ditches, farm ponds, dry waterways and isolated wetlands.
“The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers have proposed rules that in essence would infringe upon the sovereignty of the state to regulate its own waters,” said Hays County Judge Bert Cobb, M.D. “These two federal agencies failed to expand the CWA through legislation, and are now trying to gain more control by expanding their rules.”
The resolution states that “Hays County strongly opposes the proposed new rule to define ‘waters of the United States’ in that it increases the need for burdensome and costly permitting requirements, infringes on private property rights, and circumvents the legislative process, thus, the will of the people … Congress, not federal agencies, makes the laws and therefore any such change in jurisdictional power of the federal government should only occur as a result of the passage of federal legislation.”
“If approved these rules will impact private property rights, interfere with land management activities such as urban development and agricultural production and inevitably cost taxpayers more money by requiring permits and lengthy reviews for activities as simple as cleaning ditches,” Precinct 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant said. “In the past, both the EPA and Corps of Engineers have been criticized by the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives for enacting expansive rules without congressional oversight, and this appears to be another attempt to disregard state’s rights.”