Everywhere you look the Environmental Protection Agency is harassing law abiding citizens and businesses, just trying to make a living, or live in peace. Luckily, the latest power grab has been withdrawn by the EPA, but the rule was not amended, and other small farmers may be effected. The EPA originally issued a warning that Lois Alt could face fines of up to $37,500 per day if she did not do something about the stray feathers, dust, and chicken manure which could be carried by rainwater two footballs fields away and emptied into a stream. The EPA claimed the Clean Water Act gave them the authority to define animal waste (most of which was confined correctly in the barn) carried by rain as a pollution source point, and therefore regulate it. This is part of the larger trend of the EPA to define everything as a water way in order to claim the authority to regulate it. In the past the EPA has defined drainage ditches as navigable water ways in order to regulate private property.
But in this particular case, the EPA withdrew its lawsuit, probably not wanting it to go before a federal judge. Other farmers are still at risk of being regulated by the over zealous EPA, according to a Daily Caller article.
“This is a personal victory for Lois Alt, but it should not have taken a federal lawsuit to convince EPA to withdraw an order that was illegal from the start,” American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman said in a statement Thursday evening.
“EPA’s withdrawal of the Alt order without correcting its legal position still leaves other farmers and ranchers hanging in uncertainty, vulnerable to the same threats that Ms. Alt faced.”
In order to be deprived of property by the government (as in, the $37,500 daily fine), according to the Bill of Rights due process is required. A bureaucratic agency should not have the power to issue citations such as these, which must be taken to court in order to avoid paying the fine. In this country, a person is innocent until proven guilty, and the burden of proof rests on the accuser. Currently the EPA can go around issuing citations of breaches of environmental law which people must pay or fight in court. Agencies like the EPA are destructive forces which destroy businesses with arbitrary laws that have no measurable benefit.
And to hammer home the point that the EPA is a power hungry body, I’ll direct you to an article from the Weekly Standard which details the congressional inquiry into the use of secret email accounts used by the EPA. EPA administrator Lisa Jackson was found to be using an alias, Richard Windsor when communicating internally with other EPA officials. Lawmakers have sent a letter to Jackson asking if there are any other secret email accounts, and if other federal agency administrators have similar secret email addresses.
Every official communication of anyone in our government should be open to public review. It is not okay to have secret communications regarding official U.S. business in a country with a government by the people, for the people. How can we be properly vigilant over politicians, bureaucrats and government if we do not have all the information available to us? Unelected regulatory bodies should be removed entirely from the federal government, which would also save a good deal of tax dollars.