More EPA Abusiveness   Leave a comment

For many Americans, protecting the environment is an important issue that must be balanced with concerns about housing, jobs, the economy, and individual rights. Contrary to popular belief — that which is put out by the liberal media — conservatives do not want to pollute the planet. We simply want attempts to conserve our air and water to be mindful of the liberty our country was founded on because we believe that conservation is possible without draconian and unconstitutional governmental edicts. Some federal environmental laws, such as the Clean Water Act (CWA), fail to balance these competing societal values and instead pursue environmental protection to the exclusion of other human concerns. Because of its unlimited capacity to restrict or prohibit ordinary human activity, the Clean Water Act poses a unique risk to individual and economic freedom. The act authorizes severe, sometimes ruinous civil penalties1 and criminal liability for discharging a pollutant into “navigable waters” without a federal permit. Furthermore, the act can be enforced against “any person,” whether a large corporation or private individual.

One of the primary problems with the CWA is the federal government’s broad and inconsistent interpretation of the term “navigable waters”—the waters that the federal government can regulate under the CWA. By promulgating an amorphous definition of navigable waters, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have effectively federalized virtually all waters and much of the land in the United States, including artificial ponds and swimming pools. Such vague   regulations allow federal officials to maximize the reach of the act while evading judicial review, thereby discouraging productive activity and economic investment. Problems with the Clean Water Act generally involve either regulatory overreach or abusive enforcement.

I hope to bring in some Alaskan concerns here to provide a human face to the abusiveness of the Clean Water Act.

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