One of the things you will find in a socialist run nation is that the government has taken over most of the rights of the people, including the right to own and manage their own property. That’s the direction the Obama administration was heading, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers spear-heading the effort to trample on the rights of American landowners.
There were a number of examples of how the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers abused their power to trample on the rights of homeowners.
One example is when Peter and Frankie Smith purchased 20-acres of desert land outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. One of the dry desert washes that ran through their property was filled with trash, so the Smiths cleaned up the trash. That’s when the big bad Army Corps of Engineers moved in and told them that wash was a ‘water of the United States’ and that their cleaning and smoothing of the wash constituted illegal dredging and pollution flow problems that could affect the Rio Grande River, some 25 miles away. By having the wash declared a water of the United States the Smiths were now subject to the rules and regulations of the Clean Water Act, which they were now in violation of according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
Then there is the case of Mike and Chantell Sackett, who purchased about two-thirds of acre in a new development. Their first task was to bring in loads of fill dirt and have the lot leveled so they could build their home on the lot. Before they could start building, officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers showed up on the site and ordered the couple to halt all activity. It turns out the agencies suddenly declared the land in the new subdivision was a wetland. Six months later they received a compliance order from the EPA informing them that the lot was a wetland and that they had to restore it back to its natural condition. If they did not comply with the order, the EPA notice said that they could be fined up to $37,500 per day.
The Sacketts tried to appeal the order but were told by the EPA that decisions involving wetlands are not open to appeal. They took their case to the courts and all of the courts up to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that landowners had no right to appeal an EPA order involving wetlands until fines have been assessed. The case then went to the US Supreme Court who just released their ruling on the case.
In the majority decision, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that the Sacketts should have the right to file a civil suit against the EPA under the Administrative Procedures Act since the EPA order is a final one and that the couple were facing the huge fines. He also wrote that the Clean Water Act, which is what the EPA was using to force the Sacketts to restore their property back to the original condition, is not exempt from judicial review.
John Rapanos owned 20 acres of land in Michigan. He wanted to build a shopping center on his land, but the Environmental Protection Agency ordered him to stop construction and slapped him with fines. Although his property was 20 miles away from the nearest waterway, the EPA used the waterway and wetlands to prevent Rapanos from developing his own land. His lawsuit against the EPA, who claimed no private citizen had the right challenge them, also made it to the US Supreme Court where a 4-1-4 decision barely went in Rapanos’ favor.
These are just a few of the terrorist tactics used by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to strip landowners of their constitutional rights. The cries of landowners have been heard and the Trump Administration has announced that the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers are planning on rescinding the Clear Water Rule and to re-define the ‘waters of the United States’ (WOTUS), which would help stop the agencies’ reign of terror.
Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the EPA stated:
“We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses. This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine ‘waters of the U.S.’ and we are committed to moving through this re-evaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty, in a way that is thoughtful, transparent and collaborative with other agencies and the public.”
Hopefully, Pruitt and other members of the Trump administration will continue to repeal most of Obama’s socialist policies that were used to control and trample on the right of landowners.