The Obama rule gives expansive power to the federal government to regulate development and commerce that happens around bodies of water in the U.S. Although the law loosely refers “navigable waters,” it has been used to justify regulatory action around small, temporary bodies of water.
So now we have Burlington discharging 7,000,000 gallons of “partially treated” wastewater into Lake Champlain. There are 8.34 pounds per gallon, so the discharge adds up to 58,000,000 pounds. At the $15/pound rate charged against Lyndon, the fine against Burlington should come to $870 million. Will the state’s environmental enforcers levy that fine on Burlington? We doubt it.
Our lakes, rivers, and waterways are assets that support our way of life, our property values, our health and safety, and our economy. We need to invest in these assets. Like any investment, early, proactive, and disciplined practices are the key to success. As stated before, we have two options, defer action or take action.