Secure Arkansas has been made aware that many Justices of the Peace (JPs) and elected officials have NOT been notified of the June 19, 2017 deadline to submit substantive comments regarding the local county government position on the definition of “navigable waters” pertaining to the “Waters of the United States” rule. It is the EPA and THE PRESIDENT — NOT Secure Arkansas — who are requesting comments from local officials. The EPA and the Corps of Engineers (Dept. of the Army) are following President Trump’s Executive Order that directs EPA/CORPS to accept comments from STATES and COUNTIES/LOCAL GOVERNMENTS until then — this coming Monday!! It is EPA and the PRESIDENT who have opened the constitutional process in which the counties may participate for our own good!
WHY have local officials NOT been made aware of this? Did NACo/Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) fail in NOT officially and directly informing Arkansas’ 75 counties of their duty to submit a comment about this strategically and desperately important issue???
In case you’ve been told “this is a federal issue”… don’t let your county officials hide behind a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) claim that this is a federal issue. Instead, tell them:
“The creek crossing my property is a LOCAL issue to me – NOT federal – in spite of Obama’s effort to redefine my creek as ‘navigable’”.
And remember, our county courts in Arkansas have exclusive original jurisdiction in ALL matters that pertain to our LOCAL concerns – see Arkansas Constitution Article 7, Section 28:
Article 7, Section 28. County courts – Jurisdiction – Single judge holding court. The County Courts shall have exclusive original jurisdiction in all matters relating to county taxes, roads, bridges, ferries, paupers, bastardy, vagrants, the apprenticeship of minors, the disbursement of money for county purposes, and in every other case that may be necessary to the internal improvement and local concerns of the respective counties. The County Court shall be held by one judge, except in cases otherwise herein provided.
That trumps what any federal or any other court might try to decree on our counties’ waters.
So, county court officers, do your job – make sure your “comment” is heard, that you prefer the Trump/Scalia interpretation of “navigable waters”. It must be heard by midnight, Monday, June 19, 2017 by email to EPA staff at CWAwotus@epa.gov .
Attention JP’s! Included, for your convenience, is a form for an official comment for Justices of the Peace to act independently if their quorum courts are failing to act collectively. Arkansans may download this form and take it to their JP if in doubt that the whole quorum court will act in time before Monday. If desired, the JP may obtain the county clerk’s seal or notary public seal on his signature.
If just ONE JP IN EACH COUNTY will do his job, it could be the salvation of the whole county’s water rights down the road. JPs, you may use the comment form to submit your comments to the EPA: simply print it off, date it, sign it, and include your district number, and scan/email it to CWAwotus@epa.gov ON or BEFORE midnight, Monday, June 19, 2017.
Again, we want to remind you: it is NOT Secure Arkansas asking you to comment; it is EPA and THE PRESIDENT who are asking for substantive comments from you, our local officials, stating the local county government position on the definition of “navigable waters”!
When you as a Justice of the Peace submit official comments and vote “Yes” on resolutions and ordinances and pass them, it carries tremendous weight and influential power against federal government overreach.
From the Arkansas Constitution, Article 7, Section 28:
“The county courts shall have exclusive original jurisdiction in all matters relating to… county purposes, and in every other case that may be necessary to the… local concerns of the respective counties.”
Section 38: “The qualified electors of each township shall elect the justices of the peace for the term of two years; who shall be commissioned by the governor, and their official oath shall be indorsed on the commission.”
“Quorum Court District and Township officers. (1) There shall be elected in each of the quorum court districts of the counties of this state one (1) justice of the peace who shall preside over the justice of the peace courts and perform such judicial duties as may be prescribed by law and who shall serve as a member of the quorum court of the county in which elected and shall perform such legislative duties as may be prescribed by law. Each justice shall be a qualified elector and a resident of the district for which he or she is elected.
(2) There shall be elected in each township, as preserved and continued in SS 14-14-401, one (1) constable who shall have the qualifications and perform such duties as may be provided by law.”
In closing, we are including the resolution again. It supports water rights in your county, IF it’s passed. Currently, EIGHT counties in Arkansas have passed it in their quorum courts! (THANK YOU, Boone, Craighead, Fulton, Lawrence, Newton, Randolph, Searcy, and Stone Counties!)
Many other counties in Arkansas will be holding their monthly quorum court meetings Mondaynight, June 19, 2017, and we strongly recommend that you get the resolution to your JP AS SOON AS POSSIBLE so he/she can put it on the agenda and pass it. Some quorum courts may need to call a special session to address this issue. It’s not too late! But Monday, June 19, 2017 at midnight is the deadline!
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Securing the blessings of liberty,