Rounds Discusses EPA And Land Rights in Rapid City

Aug 31, 2016

Credit Lee Strubinger / SDPB

U.S. Senator Mike Rounds says he’s concerned about private property rights when it comes to EPA regulations. He says he specifically sees issues with regulations in the Waters of the United States rule and the Endangered Species Act.
That statement came during a subcommittee hearing in Rapid City on Tuesday. A local scientists says those regulations exists to control what enters waterways and to create a level playing field.

Rounds is calling the WOTUS rule an overreach of private property rights. That rule is a modification, which seeks to clarify the Clean Water Act.
Rounds was in Rapid City to speak with land owners and officials about how they’re affected by EPA regulations.
He says he wants Congress to have more of a say in how regulations are implemented.
“The Environmental Protection Agency has overstepped its bounds time after time. The best example, most recently, is the Waters of the United States where there has been a land grab, the largest land grab in history, where the Environmental protection agency is now talking about areas that are huge land masses that are now subject to EPA permitting if you want to do certain types of Ag activities or if you want to do things with your private land if it has anything to do with the 100 year flood plain.”
Rounds says the original intent of a bill passed by Congress was to protect navigable waterways, but that’s been expanded to water that flows into navigable waterways. Rounds says he’s introduced a bill that addresses the issue.
Dr. Jake Kerby is a biology professor at the University of South Dakota.
Over the last few years he’s studied the effects of agricultural runoff in wetlands located east river. That type of runoff is subject to regulations thrown around by the EPA. Kerby was a recent guest on Dakota Midday. He’s led a research project that finds reduced plant and animal diversity in wetlands that collect water runoff from agricultural land.
Kerby says Ag runoff is akin to a neighbor having an oil spot on their driveway…
“Who really cares? It’s their driveway. It might look bad, and things like that," Kerby says. "But if the driveway is slanted in a way that that oil’s dripping onto your property, well then, you start to get annoyed by that. And if that oil goes down into the sewer, then that’s affecting our public drinking water and things like that. Then everybody gets a little annoyed by that.”
Kerby says in his research he’s found that counties have their own drainage regulations. He says the federal approach is to have the same regulations throughout the country.