by Greg Walcher, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow
As appearing in the Daily Sentinel
A popular blog called TV Tropes has a post beginning, “So, you won a war, you bask in the glory of victory, and all that stuff. But when you finally get over all this excitement, you realize your problems still aren’t solved; perhaps you bungled the end-game negotiations… or your strategic genius doesn’t extend to politics.”
It is an apt description of the bungled approach Colorado is apparently taking after its victory in the battle against the federal water and power grab known as Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS). Colorado was one of the key states that stopped EPA’s 2015 takeover of virtually all the water in the country. Then, just as the agency had withdrawn and reset the scale, back in favor of state primacy over water rights, Colorado has abandoned the field and joined the other side.
Remember, when EPA published its onerous new “interpretation” in 2015, it essentially proclaimed federal jurisdiction over every stock watering pond, ditch, puddle, and parking lot drain in the country. It would have subjected to EPA jurisdiction all activity that touches on any water. That was a vast expansion of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act, which explicitly applies to America’s major rivers, bays, and oceans. Inland waters belong to the states.