People of a certain age used to laugh at an 11-word sentence. They don’t anymore. The 11-word sentence is “I’m with the federal government and I’m here to help you.” People aren’t laughing because they’re victims of government. Sen. Ron Johnson heard about how the federal government drove Steve Lathrop to the verge of bankruptcy even though Mr. Lathrop followed the government’s rules perfectly. Watch the video to see what the federal government did to Mr. Lathrop. Be prepared, though, to clench your fists because what the federal government did was highly immoral.
According to Sen. Johnson, regulations cost Americans $1,750,000,000,000 annually. Yes, that’s trillions of dollars, not billions of dollars.
First, some basic information is helpful. Mr. Lathrop lived in Granite City, IL. Mr. Lathrop’s neighborhood was prone to frequent flooding, which the federal government knew about. That’s indisputable truth because the federal government commissioned eight different studies between 1973 and 1995. Each of these studies recommended that the Army Corps of Engineers build a system of lakes and channels to mitigate flood damage. It isn’t surprising that the Army Corps of Engineers didn’t fix the problem.
In 1990, Mr. Lathrop bought the dump where the flooding frequently happened. Then he applied for all the required permits. Then he invested $300,000 to make the changes that he’d gotten permits to do. That’s when his problems began. The bad news is that Mr. Lathrop nearly lost all his money. The terrible news is that the federal government told him that his property, which had been converted into a lake just like the studies recommended, was considered a wetland under a definition of the Clean Water Act.
According to the federal government, that meant that his permits were invalid. That’s when the federal government instructed Mr. Lathrop to restore his property to its original state even though that would mean massive flooding in the Lathrop’s neighborhood would likely return.
Mr. Lathrop’s project would’ve prevented that neighborhood from flooding. In the name of clean water, though, the federal government ordered Mr. Lathrop to restore his property to its original state, which was, literally, a dump. That’s the definition of insanity. This project got its high profile because a US senator took an interest in it. There are literally tens of thousands of stories of abusive federal regulations.
This article is chilling, too:
Mike and Chantell Sackett bought their land near a scenic lake for $25,000, but when they decided to build a property there in 2007, the EPA ordered a halt, saying the Clean Water Act requires that wetlands not be disturbed without a permit.
The good news is that the Supreme Court agreed with them:
In an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court ruled the EPA cannot impose fines that could be as much as $75,000 a day without giving property owners the ability to challenge its actions.The ruling allows the couple to challenge the EPA head-on in court, but the real battle begins now. The case has brought attention to the EPA’s reach. While the court only allowed a challenge to be brought, in a concurring opinion, Justice Samuel Alito noted that the law allowing EPA to demand compliance is overly broad.
“The reach of the Clean Water Act is notoriously unclear. Any piece of land that is wet at least part of the year is in danger of being classified by EPA employees as wetlands covered by the act, and according to the federal government, if property owners begin to construct a home on a lot that the agency thinks possesses the requisite wetness, the property owners are at the agency’s mercy,” Alito wrote.
The Clean Water Act needs to be modified. Unclear sections of the bill need to be clarified so that regulators can’t run roughshod over private property owners. Fines should be re-examined. The EPA shouldn’t be allowed to fine private property owners $75,000 a day for simply wanting to build a home on their property. That type of fine isn’t just exorbitant. It’s immoral.
Democrats won’t tolerate any tinkering or modifications to the Clean Water Act, which is why it’s important that Republicans retake the White House and hold control of the House and Senate. If they do that, then Senate Republicans need to rewrite the Senate’s filibuster laws so that outdated statutes can be modified to protect private citizens.