Something To Think About

When a law is created in either the House of Representatives or the Senate, it is posted at Thomas.gov so that anyone can read it and see what was done with it. For example, you can look up the Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2015 (S980), introduced in mid-April and find out that it is currently sitting in the Committee on Environment and Public Works. However, if you look closely, that bill is to protect Americans from the government controlling the mud puddles on their property. So where is the law introducing the new regulations S980 is protecting us from. There is no law passed by Congress or introduced into Congress. The ‘law’ comes directly from the EPA (where no one is elected or accountable to the American public). Now the EPA head Gina McCarthy says that S980 is unnecessary, but there seems to be some confusion about that.

Yesterday the Washington Times posted an article about the new EPA regulations.

The article reports:

“This rule is about clarification, and in fact, we’re adding exclusions for features like artificial lakes and ponds, water-filled depressions from constructions and grass swales,” McCarthy said. “This rule will make it easier to identify protected waters and will make those protections consistent with the law as well as the latest peer-reviewed science. This rule is based on science.”

The Supreme Court has twice questioned the breadth of powers decreed under the Clean Water Act, prompting Wednesday’s actions.
McCarthy claimed the new powers would “not interfere with private property rights or address land use.”

“It does not regulate any ditches unless they function as tributaries. It does not apply to groundwater or shallow subsurface water, copper tile drains or change policy on irrigation or water transfer.”

Not surprisingly, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, THE top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, loves the plan.

Not everyone sees it that way:

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said:

“EPA’s attempt to redefine ‘navigable waterways’ to include every drainage ditch, backyard pond, and puddle is a radical regulatory overreach that threatens to take away the rights of property owners and will lead to costly litigation and lost jobs. The House is committed to fighting back against this radical policy, which is why we passed bipartisan legislation earlier this month to stop the EPA in their tracks from moving forward with this misguided proposal. It’s time for President Obama’s EPA to abandon these radical proposals, all in the name of protecting wetlands and waterways, that instead will only lead to more American jobs being shipped overseas at the expense of the American economy.”

Stay tuned.

That Mud Puddle On Your Front Lawn Is Now Under Federal Control

The Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) posted the following press release yesterday:

WASHINGTON, DC, Dec 5 – “Government has grown more aggressive as it seeks to trample on our rights with regulations that are so intrusive they are positively inane, including a new one that would give the EPA the right to regulate rain water,” according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.

Weber said that he was not amused when the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would extend its authority under the Clean Water Act to include puddles.

“The Clean Water Act was enacted in 1972 to prevent the pollution of the nation’s navigable waters.  It was not intended to allow the government to tell us how to deal with naturally occurring ditches on our property just because they might collect rainwater during a storm.  But that’s exactly what the EPA proposes to do.  It would be a joke if it wasn’t for the fact that such pervasive authority is bound to cause hardships for America’s farmers and for the country as a whole,” Weber explained.

Mark Pflugmacher operates a family farm in Champaign County, IL.  He is also a member of the Champaign County Farm Bureau.  As he put it in an OpEd article published in his local paper, The News-Gazette: “If the expanded definition is allowed, permits and other regulatory roadblocks — having to hire environmental consultants, for example — would stand in the way of conducting routine business activities like building fences, removing debris from ditches, spraying for weeds and insects, and removing unwanted vegetation on my own farm.

Pflugmacher cautioned that farmers are not the only businesses that will be impacted if the EPA is given the far-reaching authority it seeks.  “Home builders, real estate agents, aggregate producers, manufacturers and contractors all would be affected. For these small, local businesses, the proposed rule would increase federal regulatory power over private property. The definitions would create confusion and, because they were intentionally created to be overly broad, could be interpreted in whatever way the federal agencies see fit, costing business owners money and the local economy jobs.’

Weber described it as “yet another example of big government, or big brother, if you will, gaining control of our lives, including the cost of living.  The proposed EPA restrictions on the use of plentiful, inexpensive coal to produce affordable electricity will have a profound impact on the price we pay to heat and cool our homes.  The new standing water proposals will undoubtedly increase the cost of the food we eat and the homes in which we live.”

The AMAC chief noted that the nation’s elderly will be the ones who suffer most and called on the new Republican Congress to rein in the regulators “who are usurping the power of our Representatives and Senators to make laws.”

Private Property Rights Are Important In America

One of the foundations of the American republic is the concept of private property rights. Occasionally those rights have been under attack and the battle has been lost–for example the Supreme Court decision regarding Kelo and the State of Connecticut. (n June of 2005, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the City of New London, Connecticut, could, under the rule of eminent domain, seize the homes of several homeowners in order to use the land for a purpose that would generate more tax revenue for the City.)  Due to tough economic times (and basic karma), the plant that was built on that site closed and moved to Groton.

At any rate, property rights of Americans have been threatened on numerous occasions. The latest threat comes from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) following the plan already outlined in Agenda 21.

Today’s Washington Examiner is reporting on a new EPA rule:

...the “Water Body Connectivity Report” – that would remove the limiting word “navigable” from “navigable waters of the United States” and replace it with “connectivity of streams and wetlands to downstream waters” as the test for Clean Water Act regulatory authority.

…If approved, the new rule would give EPA unprecedented power over private property across the nation, gobbling up everything near seasonal streams, isolated wetlands, prairie potholes, and almost anything that occasionally gets wet.

Smith and Stewart (House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith of Texas and Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah, chairman of its environment subcommittee)accuse EPA of “pushing through a rule with vast economic and regulatory implications before the agency’s Science Advisory Board has had an opportunity to review the underlying science.”

If this sounds familiar, it is. This is the language used by the United Nation‘s Agenda 21 program:

As I reported in December 2011 (rightwinggranny.com):

One of the aspects of Agenda 21 is the location of vernal pools and the ‘corridors’ that connect them. Those pools and corridors are then used as excuses to severely limit the use of property. Property owners can be asked to make alterations to their property that are extremely expensive and that might cause them to abandon the property. Property owners can also be severely limited as to what they can do on their own property.

A land grab is a land grab. It doesn’t matter whether it comes from the UN or from our own government–it is still a land grab. Pay attention–this could be coming to your town soon.

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The End Of A Nightmare For An American Family

Mike and Chantell Sackett bought a building lot near Priest Lake in 2005. They planned to build a house there. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had other ideas. As I reported in rightwinggranny on January 9, 2012, the lot is less than an acre and is just 500 feet from Priest Lake on its west side. It is separated from the lake by a house and a road and has no standing water or any hydrologic connection to Lake Priest or any other body of water. Nevertheless, the EPA declared their lot a wetland and threatened to fine them $30,000 every day that they did not return the lot to its original condition. Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled on the lawsuit that followed.

CNBC reported today:

In an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court rejected EPA’s argument that allowing property owners quick access to courts to contest orders like the one issued to the Sacketts would compromise the agency’s ability to deal with water pollution.

“Compliance orders will remain an effective means of securing prompt voluntary compliance in those many cases where there is no substantial basis to question their validity,” Scalia said.

In this case, the couple objected to the determination that their small lot contained wetlands that are regulated by the Clean Water Act, and they complained there was no reasonable way to challenge the order without risking fines that can mount quickly.

The value of this case is that it gives Americans a way to fight the EPA when it interferes with private property rights. Since the EPA is one of the ways some people in our government plan to institute Agenda 21(see rightwinggranny) and begin to end the concept of private property in the United States, this is a very important decision.

These are two quotes from United Nations leaders regarding private property:

“Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class–involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air conditioning, and suburban housing–are not sustainable.”  Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the UN’s 1992 Earth Summit

“Land, because of its unique nature and the crucial role it plays in human settlements, cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principle instrument of the accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes.”  This is a quote from the 1976 UN Conference on Human Settlement, held in Vancouver, Canada. Under “Section D. Land,” of the Report of Habitat, which came out of the conference. It is from the preamble and speaks of the private ownership of land.

These quotes are from rightwinggranny on December 14, 2011. I am sure the Supreme Court will be called upon to rule on private property rights in the future. The President we elect in November will have a major role in deciding who sits on the Supreme Court. If you value American’s property rights, you will vote for a Republican in November. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a Supreme Court that does not support private property rights in America.

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About That “Pass The Bill” Statement

At times, facts are inconvenient things. They can easily get in the way of actually winning an argument (or an election). The election of 2012 is going to be, among other things, an indication of how many Americans are believing everything the Obama administration tells them and how many Americans are actually checking the facts. One place where the rhetoric and the facts are in total opposition is the most recent jobs bill put forth by President Obama.

First of all, the Republicans are not blocking the bill–the Republicans do not have enough votes in the Senate to stop anything without Democrat votes. Second of all, the House Republicans have passed a number of bills to help cut unemployment and those bills have not made it through the Senate.

GOP.gov has posted a list of bills passed in the House of Representatives that are aimed at job creation that have gone nowhere. I realize this is a really long list, but take a look:

The “Forgotten Fifteen”

1)  H.R. 872—Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act:  The bill would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to clarify that the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or a state may not require a permit under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act for the application of pesticides regulated under FIFRA.  By removing duplicative requirements, the bill would reduce overlapping and unnecessary regulation on pesticides that are already regulated, thereby reducing costs to both farmers and small business owners.

2)  H.R. 910—Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011:  H.R. 910 would prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases to address climate change under the Clean Air Act.   More specifically, the bill would prohibit the EPA from regulating: water vapor; carbon dioxide; methane; nitrous oxide; and any other substance subject to regulation, action or consideration under the Clean Air Act to address climate change.  The bill would prevent a needless increase in energy prices for American households and businesses.

3)  H.J.Res. 37—Disapproving the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission with respect to regulating the Internet and broadband industry practices:  The bill would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from implementing a net-neutrality rule which would prohibit Internet providers from slowing or blocking legal websites or Internet services because of concerns over bandwidth.  In May 2010, seventy-four House Democrats sent a letter to FCC Chairman Genachowski making the case that net-neutrality rules will “jeopardize jobs” and “should not be done without additional direction from Congress.”

4)  H.R. 1230—Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act: H.R. 1230 would require the Department of the Interior (DOI) to auction offshore oil and gas leases in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico, as well as in an area off the coast of Virginia. The bill would help to reduce energy prices and promote job creation by expediting offshore oil and natural gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and the Virginia coast.

5)  H.R. 1229—Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act:  H.R. 1229 would direct the Secretary of the Interior to require that any lessee operating under an approved exploration plan obtain a permit before drilling any well, and obtain a new permit before drilling any well of a design that is significantly different than the design for which an existing permit was issued. The bill would prohibit the Secretary from issuing a permit without ensuring that the proposed drilling operations meet all critical safety system requirements (including blowout prevention), and oil spill response and containment requirements. 

6) H.R. 1231—Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act:  H.R. 1231 would require that each five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program offer leasing in the areas with the most prospective oil and gas resources, and would establish a domestic oil and natural gas production goal.  The bill would essentially lift the President’s ban on new offshore drilling by requiring the Administration to move forward on American energy production in areas estimated to contain the most oil and natural gas resources.

7) H.R. 2021—The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011:  H.R. 2021 would eliminate needless permitting delays that have stalled important energy production opportunities off the coast of Alaska.  The bill would also eliminate the permitting back-and-forth that occurs between the EPA and its Environmental Appeals Board.  Rather than having exploration air permits repeatedly approved and rescinded by the agency and its review board, the EPA will be required to take final action – granting or denying a permit—within six months.

8) H.R. 2018—Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011: H.R. 2018 would a restrict the EPA ability to issue a revised or new water quality standard for a pollutant whenever a state has adopted and EPA already has approved a water quality standard for that pollutant, unless the state concurs with the EPA Administrator’s determination that the revised or new standard is necessary to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act.  The bill would prevent unilateral actions by the EPA that second-guess the decisions of the state regulatory agency.

9) H.R. 1315—Consumer Financial Protection & Soundness Improvement Act:  H.R. 1315 would improve consumer protection and provides greater economic stability by allowing the Financial Stability Oversight Council to vote to set aside any harmful federal regulation.

10) H.R. 1938— North American-Made Energy Security Act:  H.R. 1938 would direct the President, acting through the Secretary of Energy, to coordinate with all federal agencies responsible for an aspect of the President’s National Interest Determination and Presidential Permit decision regarding construction and operation of Keystone XL, to ensure that all necessary actions are taken on an expedited schedule.  The bill would promote job creation and energy security by ending the needless delay of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline.

11) H.R. 2587—Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act:  H.R. 2587 would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) from ordering any employer to close, relocate, or transfer employment under any circumstance.

12) H.R. 2401—Transparency In Regulatory Analysis Of Impacts On The Nation:  H.R. 2401 would require analyses of the cumulative and incremental impacts of certain rules and actions of the Environmental EPA.  Specifically, the bill would require the President to establish the Committee for the Cumulative Analysis of Regulations that Impact Energy and Manufacturing.  The Committee would be charged with analyzing and reporting on the cumulative and incremental impacts of covered rules and actions of the EPA concerning air, waste, water, and climate change.  The bill would establish the interagency committee to evaluate the economic impacts of EPA regulations and delay the final dates for both the maximum achievable control technology (Utility MACT) standards and the cross-state air pollution rule (CSAPR) until the full impact has been studied. Both regulations would cost consumers and businesses $184 billion from 2011-2030 and would cause electrical prices to skyrocket.

13) H.R. 2681—Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act: H.R. 2681 would provide a legislative stay of three EPA emissions standards that apply to cement manufacturing plants and are known as the “Cement MACT rules.”  The bill would also provide for the implementation of effective regulation that protects communities both environmentally and economically.

14) H.R. 2250—EPA Regulatory Relief Act:  H.R. 2250 would provide a legislative stay of four interrelated EPA rules, commonly referred to as the “Boiler MACT rules,” that govern emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from approximately 200,000 boilers and incinerators nationwide.  The bill would remove this excessive regulatory burden placed on employers by the EPA’s Boiler MACT rules, potentially costing companies $14 billion and 224,000 American jobs, and replace them with sensible, achievable rules that do not destroy jobs.

15) H.R. 2273—Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act:  H.R. 2273 would utilize the framework and requirements of an existing federal regulatory program developed by the EPA under the Solid Waste Disposal Act (RCRA) as the basis for enforceable minimum federal standards for the regulation of a waste stream known as coal ash.  The bill would include enforceable federal standards, but would leave regulation and enforcement to the states.  The bill would also provide consistent, safe management of coal combustion residuals in a way that protects jobs and encourages recycling and beneficial use.

It seems to me that the Senate could have passed at least one of these bills. I am not convinced that it is the Republicans playing political games with the economy.

 

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