Friday, March 23, 2012
Senator Rand Paul Steps Up to Protect Property Owners
by Tom DeWeese
U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has just introduced legislation designed to reign in out-of- control federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers. The bill, if enacted, will be a vital blow to the enforcement of radical environmental/Agenda 21- inspired regulations. The bill is called the Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2012 (S.2122).
A little history: in 1972, as the environmental movement was getting its start through popular efforts to stop pollution in our rivers and air, Congress passed the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (later called the Clean Water Act). The law prohibited the discharge of pollutants into “navigable waters” without a federal permit. The problems began when the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers made a power grab by enforcing the act over ponds, occasional mud puddles, and even dry lands by labeling them as wet lands.
The result has been disastrous to property owners and businesses, sometimes even leading to jail sentences to “violators.”
The result of such outrageous interpretations of the Clean Water Act has led Senator Paul to introduce his bill to do the following:
Redefine “navigable waters” to explicitly clarify that waters must actually be navigable in fact, or “permanent, standing, or continuously flowing bodies of water that form geographical features commonly known as streams, oceans, rivers and lakes that are connected to waters that are navigable-in- fact.”
• Excludes ephemeral or intermittent streams – the streams that sometimes form when rain falls – from federal jurisdiction.
• Restrains the EPA and Army Corps from regulating or “interpreting” the definition of a navigable water without Congressional authorization.
• Protects the rights of states to have primary authority over the land and water within their borders.
• Prohibits federal agents from entering private property without the express consent of the landowner
• Requires the government to pay double the value of the land to any landowner whose property value is diminished by a wetlands designation.