The Texas Farm Bureau joins more than a dozen other groups suing the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over a new rule that expands their control over waters in the United States. The suit, filed in federal district court in Galveston claims the new rule grants the EPA and Corps broad control over land use far beyond what Congress authorized int he Clean Water Act.
Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening called it an astonishing overreach of federal regulatory power. He said, "It's clear Congress never intended EPA's regulatory power to extend beyond truly navigable waters." Boening said the rule was originally promised to bring clarity to farmers, builders and other business owners. Instead, he said, "What we have here is a federal agency that conceived a regulatory program when none was needed, lobbied extensively for it and skewed the public comment process." Boening said the courts and Congress have never gone this far in regulating farming practices. According to the complaint filed by the farm organizations, the agencies are determined to exert jurisdiction over a staggering range of dry land and water features, and that results in a rule that is vague and uncertain. Boening said this new rule could involve the federal government in the most routine of daily decisions.