Stop the EPA’s Waters of the United States redefinition

by Cate Moore on September 15, 2014

You may have seen in our newsletter that the EPA is trying once again to redefine their jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act from “navigable waters of the United States” to “waters of the United States”.  If enacted, the EPA would have jurisdiction over every bit of flowing water or seasonally boggy place in the country.  Below is the EPA’s regional wetlands map for our area.  You can see that our area is particularly blue.  What this means to us is that we would have a whole new agency, the EPA, with its own agenda, regulations, fees and fines to add to our existing water regulations from CalFire, the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Water Resource Control Boards.


The entire nation is in an uproar, and rightly so.  The EPA top brass knows it, too.

“I have never proposed anything that I thought would be so well-received as this, that has fallen totally flat on its face.” [EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on public reaction to the Obama Administration’s new rule to redefine “waters of the United States” (WOTUS).]

That’s probably because of the EPA’s track record.  Their idea of an appropriate fine for building a pond on private property without their permission is $75,000/day. (Katie and Andy Johnson, homeowners in Wyoming)

Help from the courts may also be difficult to get.  The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled that if the feds say you have wetlands on your property, you can’t even appeal to the courts.  You have to go through the tortuous and expensive Clean Water Act licensing procedure — wetlands or not.

The Farm Bureau is running a “Ditch the Rule” petition campaign.  The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow is also running a petition campaign.  We urge you to sign the petitions and send letters to your representatives in Congress stating your opposition.

The deadline to speak out is October 20.

CCFA has sent the following letter as an organization, but we believe this is one instance where the more, the merrier.

CCFA to EPA re Waters of the US redefinition

CCFA sent a copy of this letter to each member of Congress whose district is in our boundaries: Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Anna Eshoo, Jackie Speier and Sam Farr.

CCFA to Boxer re EPA and Waters of the US redefinition

Here is contact information if you want to compose your own letter.  Be sure to let them know we are already thoroughly covered with our existing state and local regulations and they are not adding anything useful to the situation.


Submit your comments, identified by Docket identification (ID) No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880, by one of the following methods:

  • Mail: Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20460. Attention: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880.

Congressional representatives:

Senator Dianne Feinstein

Washington, DC Office:
331 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-3841
Fax: (202) 228-3954
TTY/TDD: (202) 224-2501

San Francisco Office:
One Post Street Suite 2450
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: (415) 393-0707
Fax: (415) 393-0710
email portal: Contact Senator Dianne Feinstein

Senator Barbara Boxer

Bay Area Office:
70 Washington Street, Suite 203
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 286-8537
(202) 224-0454 fax

Washington, DC Office:
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-3553
email portal: Contact Senator Barbara Boxer

Representative Anna Eshoo

District Office
698 Emerson Street
Palo Alto, California 94301
Telephone: (650) 323-2984 or (408) 245-2339 or (831) 335-2020
Fax: (650) 323-3498

Washington, D.C. Office
241 Cannon Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Telephone: (202) 225-8104
Fax: (202) 225-8890
email portal: Contact Representative Anna Eshoo

Palo Alto District Office Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Washington, D.C. Office Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Representative Sam Farr

Salinas Office
100 W. Alisal Street
Salinas, CA 93901
Phone: (831) 424-2229
Toll Free: 800-340-FARR
Fax: (831) 424-7099

Santa Cruz Office
701 Ocean Street, Room 318C
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: (831) 429-1976
Fax: (831) 429-1458

Washington Office
1126 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2861
Fax: (202) 225-6791
email portal: Contact Representative Sam Farr

Representative Jackie Speier

Washington, D.C. Office
211 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3531
Fax: (202) 226-4183
Office Hours: 9:00 am-6:00 pm

San Mateo Office
400 S. El Camino Real, Suite 410
San Mateo, CA 94402
Phone: (650) 342-0300 or (415) 566-5257
Fax: (650) 375-8270
Office Hours: 8:30 am-6:00 pm
email portal: Contact Representative Jackie Speier


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