Peltola votes to put water on private land under EPA control

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In a vote on the House floor on Thursday, Rep. Mary Peltola continued her war on Alaska’s economy and private property owners of America.

The vote was to disapprove the Biden Administration declaration that all waters in United States fall under the control of government. Ponds in farm fields. Rain that drains into streams that drain into rivers. All water on Native Corporation land in Alaska would be impacted. Peltola voted to keep the Biden rule intact.

The rule Peltola voted to preserve sounds complicated because it is complicated. Simply put, Biden Administration has revised the definition of “Waters of the United States” to include nearly all waters.

The vote in the U.S. House on Thursday was to disapprove that rule, and it went 227 to disapprove, and 198 to not disapprove, with 9 not voting. Peltola voted with the Democrats to not cancel the rule and to therefore put all waters under federal authority, something that the State of Alaska has fought for years.

How much water the federal government would take under this rule would be up to interpretation by the Environmental Protection Agency and the courts, and would change year after year, through litigation.

“When upstream waters significantly affect the integrity of waters for which the Federal interest is indisputable—the traditional navigable waters, the territorial seas, and interstate waters—this rule ensures that Clean Water Act programs apply to protect those paragraph (a)(1) waters by including such upstream waters within the scope of the ‘waters of the United States.’ Where waters do not significantly affect the integrity of waters for which the Federal interest is indisputable, this rule leaves regulation exclusively to the Tribes and States. Additionally, it is important to note that the fact that a water is one of the “waters of the United States” does not mean that no activity can occur in that water; rather, it means that activities must comply with the Clean Water Act’s permitting programs, and those programs include numerous statutory exemptions and regulatory exclusions.

Essentially, what happened when the Clean Water Act was applied to State of Alaska-owned land at the Pebble deposit in Western Alaska will now be applied to all private land in the United States, including places like private land in Texas, where oil and gas leases occur on land that is occasionally prone to flooding.

House Joint Resolution 27, sponsored by Missouri Rep. Sam Graves, must now pass the Senate, and then must be signed by the president. It is likely to pass the Senate, because Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is not amused by the federal overreach, but that vote will depend on whether Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell returns from the hospital, where he has been treated for a fall, and whether Democrat Sen. John Fetterman returns from psychiatric care at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he is being treated for depression.

In any case, President Joe Biden is likely to veto it when it comes to his desk.

In December, when the rule was announced, Sen. Dan Sullivan blasted the Biden Administration:

“The Biden administration today announced its ‘final’ Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule, resuscitating the burdensome and overreaching Obama-era ‘final’ interpretation of the Clean Water Act and giving the EPA vast authority over lands across the country, particularly in Alaska, which has more wetlands than any other state in the country by far,” Sullivan said in December. “Remarkably, the Biden administration refused to pause issuing this WOTUS Rule just a few months until the Supreme Court rules in a case (Sackett vs. EPA II) that will determine the scope of the agency’s authority under the Clean Water Act. As a result, millions of hard-working Americans and Alaskans are left in regulatory limbo.”

“Under this rule, land owners face the potential for thousands of dollars in litigation and months of bureaucratic back-and-forth just to fill a ditch or build a structure on their own property. This rule abandons the balanced, bipartisan and statutorily-based implementation of the Clean Water Act that we had achieved working with the Trump administration, through multiple court victories, and through multiple field hearings I chaired as a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee—including in Alaska.

“The truth is, all Americans want clean water, and we have some of the country’s cleanest water right here in Alaska. But the federal government should not take authority from states and run rough shod over the law, good-paying jobs, and our economy—which is on the verge of a recession—to achieve that goal. I will do everything I can to fight this illegal federal power grab, and I look forward to the Supreme Court once again reining in this out-of-control federal agency.”

It’s the third change in 10 years to the definition of WOTUS, even as a landmark decision from the U.S. Supreme Court is expected within weeks, which could require another significant revision and further regulatory changes, the groups noted. December’s announcement contains literally thousands of pages of documents, which Alaskans have worked to understand.

Last year, trade groups in Alaska also voiced their criticism of the Biden Administration’s return to draconian water rules.

The Alaska Chamber, the Associated General Contractors of Alaska, the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, the Alaska Miners Association, the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, the Council of Alaska Producers, and the Resource Development Council for Alaska expressed dismay at the newest WOTUS Rule.

“RDC is disappointed to see this massive final rule released on the last business day of the year,” said Leila Kimbrell, Resource Development Council for Alaska’s executive director in December. “While we are still in the process of reviewing the hundreds of pages of the new final rule, we have significant concerns over our initial assessment that this rule unnecessarily expands federal jurisdiction over state waters and brings further uncertainty to federal permitting requirements.  The definition of WOTUS is of utmost importance to RDC and its membership because Alaska is uniquely vulnerable when it comes to EPA regulation and federal overreach.  This new rule will result in disproportionate impacts to Alaska and RDC’s members, from oil and gas, to maritime, fishing, tourism, timber, as well as Alaska Native corporations, and rural communities.  While we continue to review the final document released today, RDC is committed to working with our federal and state partners to ensure a workable solution for Alaska’s unique needs.” 

EPA prepares to undo Trump-era part of Clean Water Act, add back road ditches to federal wetland oversight

41 COMMENTS

    • The process for recalling federal officials in called voting. You’ll get your chance next year.

    • Just another vote in long string of anti-Alaskan votes. Vote for clowns and you get a circus.

  1. Land that was once State of Alaska land will now belong to the EPA Corporation. I wonder if the EPA Corporation is registered off shore. SO, the owners of the EPA Corporation veiled though they may be, “decide”. The EPA is NOT owned by the people or public of the USA. Wool over eyes is a happy experience for this bunch. Look at em. No statehood economy for Alaskan residents. Etc.

    • A.; I am sure that if a person decides to dump motor oil from they’er vehicle onto the lawn, some sort of government authority would show up 😉

      • The biggest offender is the AK Railroad Corporation. Oil dumps all along the tracks into the waters of the United States. Right at spawning salmon streams I have seen them do it. How much ballast added from inception to date? That is how much their heavier, faster speeds are damaging and SINKING the bottoms of adjoining ponds over ten feet deep in places so deep AK railroad appears to float. Oily trains don’t float. Culverts are crushed and not functioning, rusted and failed for decades. AK better up its game and hire a department of hydraulogists and fund their recommended realignment improvements in their oncoming budgets. No avoidance.

        • A. Gauleutian, that doesn’t even touch on the Alaska Railroad’s wholesale and indiscriminate spraying of Roundup along hundreds of miles of railroad tracks — basically, virtually all of them — in Alaska. I was shocked this past summer to drive down the Seward Highway along Turnagain Arm and see nothing but brown dead vegetation — a veritable zone of death — for a couple of dozen feet or more on each side of the railroad tracks all the way from Potter Marsh to Portage (at least). Where is the outrage, or even the public concern?
          .
          I called the Alaska RR to complain about this, and was shunted to a snippy woman who dared claim that “spraying Roundup is necessary to ensure the integrity of our railroad tracks”. Funny, the Alaska Railroad managed to exist and operate for over 100 years without spraying toxic and carcinogenic herbicides along their tracks before this.

    • Oddly, there is this push by parents and others to bring their children to play in the pastoral, roundup paradisaic locations eating berries. ACCESS. There is a lot of waking up for Alaskans to do.

  2. She misrepresented herself as a Republican to get elected. We need to file a lawsuit against her! And got in by ranked choice. It’s just too maddening.

  3. We Alaskans know nothing of what it takes to preserve the pristine waters of our great state. Clearly it is time to sit down shut up and let Commando Joe take the reins. He is a proven warrior who will do whatever it takes to protect our waters from disastrous outsider criminal conduct such as the disaster in East Palistine Ohio! If it werent for their savior “Pothole Pete” the residents would all be dead by now just like the fish and water fowl. And lets not forget who else the “Commander” has on his list of environmental warriors like the cackling Kamela Harris appointed “border czar” who has done an amazing job of protecting the border and is a proven warrior especially when it comes to protecting the proud citizens of America who did not vote for “The Big Guy”

  4. The gift that keeps on giving. Nothing like giving the government more power and oversight on natural resources.

  5. California recently began fining residents of the drought ridden state from collecting rain water which poured from their roof to water their lawns, gardens and plants, fill their pools, wash their cars, in lieu of using tap water; Citing that water falling from the skies over California somehow fell into their control under the state’s water ways statutes. So, between Biden and Newsome, the water coming from my private well, pouring off my roof belongs to the state. If that’s the case, they can come get the “water” that is sequestered in the form of 3 feet of snow from my property. Also, from the roofs of all of these buildings that are overloaded with snow before they collapse. In the meantime, I will be charging a lease and storage fee, and a resource wasting fee if they don’t get to it before it all melts.

  6. She is Alaska’s version of Biden. What would incentivize someone to do something so monumentally damaging?

    • Brain damage. I assume she was dropped on her head at birth, as is the case with most lefties.

  7. “WOTUS gives the EPA the power to crush any landowner in the United States, but we would never ever abuse that power. Ever Ever.” Notice the mention of permits? How long do you think it would take to get a permit to open or close a ditch?

  8. “The vote was to disapprove the Biden Administration declaration that all waters in United States fall under the control of government. Ponds in farm fields. Rain that drains into streams that drain into rivers. All water on Native Corporation land in Alaska would be impacted. Peltola voted to keep the Biden rule intact.”

    Remember Peltola’s vote on this matter for 2024 (next year!).

  9. Is our representative even reading/becoming acquainted with the bills she’s voting for or against? Because it looks as if every vote she has made so far has a direct negative impact for our state. Makes one wonder if she fully understands the ramifications of her votes or if she’s simply voting as told by the party, Alaska be damned.

  10. I forgot to thank Suzanne for the lovely photo of Mary with her happy cheerleaders. They all look so happy! I hope all the native communities who support and voted for her learn real soon how quickly and happily she votes to elect the feds to control and regulate their designated native land which is a fight they have been engaged in ever since Alaska was purchased and even more after statehood until ANCSA. I honestly dont think the majority of the natives are even paying any attention as to how she votes or realizes the long term repercussions of her decisions. The natives are so elated to have their first native leader from Bethel and thats all that matters. She can sell them out in a heartbeat and no one will even take notice until its too late. After all she IS the fish lady and pro family (except for the unborn portion of the family) which is apparently meaningless. By the way why isnt our buddy Josh in the picture as well???

    • She’s not an imbecile. She’s a bought woman, with the door to unimaginable wealth open as long as she votes the way the Uniparty wants her to vote. She does something idiotic like this at least once a week. Cheers –

  11. Let’s hear a big cheer for all those foolish voters that wanted to make abundantly clear that Mr. Begich would be more crooked than she is in fact, with their votes.

    Who needs any enemies when we have them in our own home?

    Mrs. Peltola is going to be the scourge of Alaska for her entire term and comes as no surprise.

  12. Don’t hate Peltola for playing the game better than the entire Alaska GOP.

    When it was obvious she could have political legs, the Democrats gave Al Gross an ultimatum. Pull out or be ruined for life.

    She just sat back and watched as the AK GOP made itself look stupider than usual – an impressive achievement.

    -They failed to groom someone to step in for Don in case he fell dead.

    -They we’re unable to convince Begich his name is poison and he needs some proven conservative successes to get out from under it.

    -They were unable to reatrain Sarah’s ego.

    -They did an abysmal job teaching people how to use the stupid RVC.

    -They were pathetic at creating and promoting why vote GOP. With their track record nobody owes them votes.

    -When Sarah and Nick started behaving like spoiled 4 year olds, they were unable to rein them in.

    -When it became absolutely crystal clear Sarah and Nick were gonna cancel each other out, they were unable to convince one or the other to take one for the team and try again next election.

    In short, a case can be made Mary didn’t win as much as the AK GOP handed it to her.

  13. The Smiling Grandma is “Laughing Her Way To The Bank.” Five years from now she will be a perfect replacement for Lisa who has to be exhausted from Juggling for so many years. We could be a chapter in The Communist Manifesto—-How to turn a Red State BLUE. by the Will of the People.

  14. Did I read the article wrong? The vote was to disapprove the Biden rule. The vote passed 227 to 198. Doesn’t that mean that Biden’s rule is disapproved?

  15. We will see how this works as many villages sit in or by wetlands and rivers. No more boats and no more fish wheels no more throwing trash out into the swamp. Nice work Mary don’t care.

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