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The harrowing EPA power grab that wasn't

by: Eric B.

Tue May 13, 2014 at 09:55:14 AM EDT


The idea that every federal agency, especially the EPA, is always, always grabbing power (MOAR POWER!) is as universally accepted in rightwing media outlets as is the idea that Benghazi is worse than Watergate.

In a related note, about 20 years ago, the EPA prosecuted a Midland developer after they found out that he was filling in wetlands on one of his properties because he found the wetlands a nuisance. Thanks to a stirring defense aided in part by the Mackinac Center and because Antonin Scalia (known for his fine, fine mind) was unfamiliar with what was meant by "tributary," last decade the Supreme Court later decided that he was well within his rights to do whatever he wanted to without regard to the far-reaching consequences of his actions, and said that the EPA could only enforce the Clean Water Act on waterways that had significant interstate impact. Before, you see, the EPA -- acting on the original intent of the Clean Water Act's authors -- assumed that the law meant regulating every waterway (especially wetlands) in the United States.

The two collided, like a comet and another comet, in a Detroit News blog post yesterday.

When a government bureaucracy states it’s trying to protect you, it’s likely doing the opposite.

It's a form of reverse psychology, really. When OSHA tells you that you should wear goggles and gloves when handling disinfectants, it is really suggesting that you not do it because the outcomes are apt to be the hilarious stuff of viral videos.

more...

Eric B. :: The harrowing EPA power grab that wasn't

The Environmental Protection Agency, by its very name, wants Americans to believe its sole interest is protecting the vast expanses of the U.S. environment and their health.

Tricky devils them. I bet the EPA even convinced a Republican president to get Congress to legitimize this great prank with a law or something.

It recently proposed a new rule to expand its jurisdiction over “Waters of the U.S.

See the power grab here? The EPA seeks to write a rule about how it will enforce environmental law as they apply to Waters of the U.S. It's just a short leap to you opening up your tube of toothpaste in the morning and finding an EPA agent measuring whether you're getting an adequate supply of fluoride.

It argues it would like simply to “clarify” existing water rules, which have traditionally been reserved for interstate, foreign waters, or waters with large public health implications. It claims the new rules comply with the strictest Supreme Court interpretations of the Clean Air Act, but the agency wants to expand control to any waters with a “significant nexus” to a “traditional navigable water, interstate water, or the territorial seas.”

I'm counting three factual errors in this paragraph alone: 1. The Clean Water Act was written on the understanding that most waterways are interconnected in some way and therefore most of them are at some level interstate waterways, but this traditional meaning was changed by the Supreme Court about 10 years ago. 2. The EPA has applied enforcement to "foreign" waters (the odd thing is that the writer is arguing that the EPA should be allowed to regulate foreign waters, but that regulating waterways in the United States is a power grab). 3. It's the Clean Water Act.

What does significant nexus mean?

We could think this through, researching the history of the Clean Water Act and looking into how enforcement of it by the EPA has changed over the years, and also research general hydrology terms ... or we could just draw a lazy, horrifying conclusion that suits a preconceived conclusion of what's happening. I wonder which will take place on a website operated by the Detroit News' editorial page.

You can find out after the EPA has passed the rule, which is when they say they’ll get around to defining that. But it will likely be anything connected to the water table, which could include ditches, tiny ponds and probably puddles.

You mean waterways the EPA regulated for the first 30 years of the Clean Water Act, and only have the last 10 been thrown into confusion by shoddy reasoning by the Supreme Court?

This gross overreach of power is made worse by the fact that these bureaucrats in particular appear to be some of the least trustworthy — and frankly, least competent — in the federal government.

I can see where we're going to be handed a laundry list of complaints that have nothing or little to do with actual EPA enforcement and everything to do with tangential complaints that apply to every large bureaucracy. It's the calling card of a Detroit News editorial writer.

In the past year or so, it’s been revealed the EPA fraudulently uses taxpayer money, refuses to comply with requests for information to which the public has a right, and most recently, lets its employees watch porn for up to six hours a day at work.

The only question that comes to mind here is ... how do I get me a gubmint porn watching job?

Many of these employees haven’t been fired or reprimanded in any way.

If only we fired every public employee who didn't immediatley with without question honor requests for information.

This and much more is in the inspector general’s report, which was prompted by earlier revelations the EPA housed and paid a fake CIA agent almost $1 million over years.

And, as the EPA grabs more authority to regulate more waterways, you can expect it to hire and house even more fake EPA agents. The connection would be crystal clear, but overregulation by the EPA has actually polluted it to where it is now opaque and inscrutable.

More serious, but just as disgusting, is the fact that a female investigator from the inspector general’s office was assaulted as she questioned an EPA employee.

One is tempted to suggest that this might be a red herring in an argument about regulating waterways, but one is also terrified after reading this blog post that mention of such a fish would bring jackbooted EPA thugs descending down upon us all from black helicopters with "UNITED NATIONS" stenciled across the side.

No action has been taking against this employee either, according to the woman who was attacked and testified before Congress.

It's probably because Congress and the federal government are so aggressively pursuing sexual assault allegations in the military and by employees of our mercenaries military contractors.

As the EPA grabs more power, it increasingly abuses it. The agency continues to illustrate why an unlimited federal government, with unchecked bureaucratic authority, threatens the American people.

Leaving aside that this "unchecked bureaucratic authority" was actually checked about 10 years ago by the Supreme Court, we get your point ... if the EPA is allowed to enforce environmental laws on our rivers and streams and wetlands, the next person assaulted is likely to be you.

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