New regulation could drastically impact water rights in the Panhandle
"It's a huge growth of federal power over agriculture, energy, home building, and utilities," said Congressman Mac Thornberry.
Amarillo, TX - The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a new regulation on water, but Congressman Mac Thornberry says the language in the regulation is too far reaching.
"It's a huge growth of federal power over agriculture, energy, home building, and utilities," said Thornberry.
The EPA has now said they want to regulate water just about anywhere it stands on the ground. This is worded in their Clean Water Act as "navigable waters", but many are saying the problem with the term is there is no clarity.
If the proposed EPA regulation goes through, they would be in control of all bodies of water on farmer's and rancher's land.
"The potential for being intrusive into our way of life and affecting us financially is undetermined at this point because we don't have enough clarity on what the word navigable means," said general manager for 6666 Ranch, Joe Leathers.
Thornberry has introduced a bill that would define "navigable waters" as bodies of water you need a boat to navigate through.
"So, the Federal Government can regulate rivers, but cannot regulate bar ditches and playa lakes in the Texas Panhandle," said Thornberry.
At a roundtable discussion today with different agriculture, energy, and utility industries, several supported Thornberry's bill saying it's a step in the right direction.
"We take care of our land, we take of our water because it means a lot of us. It's our lively hood." said Leathers.
Thornberry said he is confident his bill will gain more followers because if the EPA goes through it has the ability to affect the consumer.
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