New BLM and EPA Regs, save the Grouse and Water
Last Post 17 Jun 2015 05:48 PM by Benjamin Crain. 3 Replies.
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Benjamin CrainUser is Offline
Lost Dutchman
Lost Dutchman
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16 Jun 2015 07:18 PM

    I have been trying to keep up with the new EPA Clean Water Act and from what I can tell any dredging in or around a body of water will require a permit, but the entire document cannot be found. Now there is also a BLM motion to restrict millions of acres of land from use to save the Sage Grouse in an attempt to declare them a endangered species. The new regulations proposed by the BLM will restrict the use of land in 10 Western States.

    As far as I can tell the Sage Grouse is not endangered at all, but that is what special interest groups are claiming, and even if they are it may be due to a introduced species. For example, in Texas all the Quail started disappearing, the populations fell off dramatically and the reason was undetermined by the Government, but any land owner could clearly tell you the culprit, it was the introduction of the Fire Ant attacking the nests. Since then instead of taking away peoples rights to hunt, people and Government alike set up Quail Runs to breed them and turn them loose into the wild. In the North West we have done the same thing with Salmon Species by creating hatcheries, many of which are run on Indian reservations. Both of these programs have been hugely successful and did not require a restriction on hunting and or land use. People whom hunt, fish and prospect usually do more to protect the lands than a keyboard jockey ranting about anti-hunting, and in this case I think it is no different.

    Currently we outdoor lovers are under attack from Bureaucrats on the East coast that have no idea what "open land" means, they know nothing but private property and designated patches of hunting grounds, and they are trying to halt the Western way of life.

    If anybody can further shed light on these back door laws being imposed outside of Congress please share it with the rest of us, we cannot allow these special interest groups to halt our way of life and our use of the land.

    There is currently a public protest going on in Colorado before the changes goes to the Governor to sign, any ammunition we can use to defeat the new attempt to close our lands, not just in this state, but all Western States would be helpful?

    Your opinions and comments are welcome, as are any ideas or further insight on a very secretive process, we need to protect our way of life. I moved back out West to get away from fences and over regulation, I am sad to see it being threatened.

    Benjamin CrainUser is Offline
    Lost Dutchman
    Lost Dutchman
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    16 Jun 2015 10:00 PM
    http://www.natlawreview.com/article...risdiction

    "On May 27, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers released a Final Rule defining “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (the “CWA”). The new definition modifies the rule that has been in place since 1986 and changes the scope of federal jurisdiction under the CWA. Lewis Roca Rothgerber is issuing this alert because the new definition affects clients in the real estate, construction, mining, manufacturing, state and local government, utility, oil and gas, and agriculture sectors that develop, own or operate real property.

    The CWA generally regulates discharges to “navigable waters.” Navigable waters are defined in the CWA to include the “Waters of the United States,” yet Congress did not define “Waters of the United States” in the CWA. The most recent Supreme Court decisions addressing the extent of federal jurisdiction over water bodies under the CWA created considerable uncertainty. This new rule is the government’s attempt to clarify that federal jurisdiction by defining which waters are “Waters of the United States.”

    The new definition affects the permitting and compliance requirements under a number of CWA programs, including, for instance, wastewater discharge permitting, Stormwater permitting and “dredge and fill” and wetlands regulation. The rule will become effective 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

    While most navigable waters such as large rivers and lakes have always been clearly regulated under the CWA, the new rule clarifies and extends federal jurisdiction to include remote tributaries, adjacent waters and wetlands, and certain kinds of region-specific features such as “prairie potholes” and “western vernal pools” that are not themselves navigable. The new definitions are potentially far-reaching, and provide the agencies with considerable latitude to require permitting before any discharges (including dredge or fill activities) are made into these jurisdictional waters. The agencies take enforcement of these permitting processes seriously, and developers or other regulated parties must remain vigilant in considering the jurisdictional status of any water or drainage features on project sites in order to avoid potential civil and criminal penalties.

    While the new rule is designed to clarify (or, some would argue, expand) the agencies’ already broad jurisdiction, it also contains several new jurisdictional exceptions that will allow many activities and projects to move forward without obtaining federal CWA permits. The agencies have clarified that some types of ditches are non-jurisdictional, and have also made exceptions related to other man-made features associated with mining and construction activity. Of particular interest to clients in the arid west will be the exclusion for certain types of erosional features, such as gullies, and other ephemeral features. These exclusions, however, are not as clear as the agencies believe, and the challenge for the regulated community will be to navigate the complex set of inclusions and exclusions to decisively identify the features on a particular project site as jurisdictional or non-jurisdictional. "
    ARTHUR WAUGHUser is Offline
    Buzzard
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    17 Jun 2015 04:44 PM

    On Sage Grouse, BLM is working to keep the bird OFF the T&E list.  Even to the extent of putting most all other planning issues on the back burner.  Fish and Wildlife has til the end of Sept. to make the determination to list or not.  An amendment to the Defense funding bill to force F&W to not make that determination for 10 years has passed the House.  We need to make sure the Senate keeps it in that bill.  That gives the state recovery plkans time to take effect and see where we stand.  If listed it will affect not only mining and oil/gas production, but wind and solar energy projects, grazing, all forms of motorized access and recreation, to name a few.  We have been dealing with the Sage Grouse on the Resource Advisory Council I am appointed to since before 2003 when I came on it as a member.

     

    Supreme Court has already said if you are dredging it is the same as taking a ladel of soup out of the pot and dumping it right back in.  You are not adding and discharge to the water (existing pot of soup.)  Therefore no one can require a Discharge Permit.  Here in Oregon our state Dept. of Enviornmental Quality requires a 700PM wastewater discharge permit, and no one can get it through thier pea brains we are not discharging waste water.  But they think and know since it has a limited sediment plume, it is BAD and killing fish and eggs, even though the waters are not open during the time eggs are present.  Most waters only have a 3 month period where they are open to dredge.  Now they want another study to see if dredging is harmful, as if the 5 on the west coast are not enough (2 in AK, 2 in CA and 1 already in OR), and all came back as "less than significant impact", meanig virtually not impact to fish or habitat.

    OHV/Recreation Representative, John Day/Snake Resource Advisory Council, BLM--- President, Wolfpack 4x4's, Region 5, Pacific Northwest 4 Wheel Drive Association--- Member- Mid Valley Prospectors, Brownsville, OR chapter GPAA, Willamette Valley Miners, Bohemia Mine Owners Association
    Benjamin CrainUser is Offline
    Lost Dutchman
    Lost Dutchman
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    17 Jun 2015 05:48 PM
    Thank you for your comments Arthur, like many things in our Government today they exceed or circumvent existing rulings.

    The BLM action is concerning to me and I will be attending the meeting in Leadville come next Thursday night. In my opinion the Sage Grouse are not endangered they have just moved off the roads and trails and are not seen by the parks folks that would rather smoke dope while spotting falcons from the road side then actually getting off their rears and walking off trails. Not saying all are doing this but I can mention a couple.

    My concern with the EPA is the overreach of all American Water ways by the new definition of "Navigable Waters" which includes stock ponds, mining waste water, and even drainage ditches built on private property, and it goes much further than that. The most concerning thing about this new law which I am sure will end up before the Supreme Court is that you can't read it until after it takes effect and only then, and a few years of legal battles will it be able to be challenged in the Supreme Court. I don't have to remind anybody on the West Coast of the restrictions on dredging, and I am afraid those restriction may soon be nation wide, now that the EPA will have Jurisdiction they will enforce it.

    Please go to the EPA website and try to find the new 2000+ page law, it doesn't exist, and if you want to file a Freedom of Information request it will cost you no less than $500. But you can join them on facebook and support them, and you can also contribute or turn in EPA offenders. I seriously doubt even if you pay for the full document that you will receive it before the law takes effect.

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