Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bush-appointed obese recovering drunk activist judge slowing environmental protection

Last year through the US Environmental Protection Agency the White House moved to more closely identify the sources of non-point pollution. Despite a judge's ruling EPA is going forward with a new federal rule protecting small streams, tributaries and wetlands.

Republican Ralph Erickson was appointed U.S. District Court Judge by war criminal George W. Bush in 2003.
According to a 2007 profile in his law school alumni magazine, North Dakota Law, Erickson is a recovering alcoholic who at that time had been sober for 17 years. [Obscure N.D. judge takes lead role in fight over Obama rule]
As the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers seek to identify sources of pollution being created by industrial agriculture Erickson's preliminary injunction covers up instances of ecoterrorism being committed by GOP donors.
Similar requests for preliminary injunctions were denied by judges in West Virginia on Wednesday and in Georgia on Thursday who agreed with the EPA and Corps that the matter belonged before a federal appeals court. Attorneys for the EPA and Corps say the Clean Water Act is already unclear and that the revisions will clear up confusion stemming from Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 on which streams and wetlands fall under federal authority. Erickson acknowledged that implementation of the rule would provide increased certainty as to what constitutes jurisdictional waters because some people will be removed from the WOTUS definition, such as owners of an intermittent wetland more than 4,000 feet away from an established tributary.
Read more about the activist judge in the Dickinson Press.

The Waters of the United States legislation seeks to give authority to the EPA to use some teeth to enforce the rights of people downstream to have clean water even from some sources that the US Geological Survey has already identified as impaired.

The Corps of Engineers has always had purview over water that flows into bodies that can support navigation.

Nearly every moving stream, intermittent or not in South Dakota, has supported a pre-settlement human or European explorer pulling and propelling a canoe over it.

In South Dakota, once it leaves its source, all surface water that flows from or through private property is owned by the state.

Property owners can harvest and possess rainwater and with a permit can pump from aquifers; but, the moment runoff reaches another body of water outside that boundary, contaminated by whatever residue it encounters along the way, within state borders, it's the property of the State of South Dakota.

Unfortunately, in South Dakota, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is governed by those same offenders and therefore effectively neutered.

Republicans and their toadies are decrying government overreach while WOTUS architects regroup for another round in Congress.
Senate Republicans charged Wednesday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) relies too heavily on politics in its regulations and not enough on science.The accusation is one of the main reasons that the GOP is backing the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act, which would overhaul the membership and operation of the EPA’s main outside boards for scientific advice and for guidance on air pollution rules. The Obama administration has threatened to veto the House’s legislation. It has repeatedly said that the reforms are not necessary and would hamper the board’s important work. [The Hill]
South Dakota's Republican junior senator is chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee subpanel holding the hearing on the bill.

Politics is what happens when your own gored ox is added to the pork of congressional sausage-making.
The Obama administration is promising to rewrite its proposed Clean Water Act rule to ensure that farmers have clear guidance about what streams, ditches and ponds will be regulated. Speaking to the National Farmers Union annual convention in Wichita, Kansas, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the final rule is being prepared for White House review, and that the administration still intends to complete it this spring. Her remarks won't satisfy the Farm Bureau. Don Parrish, the group's senior director of regulatory affairs, noted that the administration hasn't committed to any changes in the definitions yet. “What constitutes ‘destroy and pollute' in EPA's eyes are different from what farmers might think,” he said. [Agri-Pulse]
A transcript of McCarthy's remarks is linked here.
The EPA argues it isn’t expanding its authority, just clarifying it, and that the change will protect the country’s water supply. [Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
This year South Dakota's GOP congressional delegation is stumbling all over itself trying to protect donors like Monsanto and Syngenta from their accountability for the state's impaired waters.

Concern over the further contamination of shallow aquifers that supply water to a third of East River has caused the Clay County Planning and Zoning Board to table for the second time in as many weeks changing the county ordinances governing Confined Animal Feeding Operations or CAFOs.

Republican attorneys general from mostly red states, including a grandstanding Marty Jackley, sued to shield their campaign contributors from sunlight.

South Dakota deserves better than a GOP congressional delegation protecting their donors instead of guarding safe water, food and shelter for families.

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