Thursday, July 10, 2014

Be Afraid - Be Very, Very Afraid

The EPA has been feeling its oats lately. obama has unleashed the agency and sicced it on those the administration perceives as opponents - or at least, as non-suuporters.

One of the more egregious examples is the EPA's war on wood-burning stoves, most often used by those who live in rural (read: red) areas and off-the-gridders (read: rugged individualists who oppose big government).
New EPA regulations will ban the production and sale of 80 percent of America’s current wood-burning stoves, the oldest heating method known to mankind and mainstay of rural homes and many of our nation’s poorest residents. Among the hardest hit will be off-grid wilderness areas such as in large regions of Alaska and the American West.

Whereas EPA restrictions had previously banned wood-burning stoves that didn’t limit fine airborne particulate emissions to 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the change will impose a maximum 12-microgram limit. Most wood stoves that warm cabin and home residents from coast to coast can’t meet that standard. Older stoves that don’t won’t be able to be traded in for updated types, but instead must be rendered inoperable, destroyed, or recycled as scrap metal.

Only weeks after EPA enacted its new stove rules, attorneys general of seven states sued the agency to crack down on wood-burning water heaters as well ... A related suit was filed by the environmental group Earth Justice. This appears to be but another example of EPA and other government agencies working with activist environmental groups to sue and settle on claims that afford leverage to enact new regulations which they lack statutory authority to otherwise accomplish.

"Sue and settle" practices, sometimes referred to as “friendly lawsuits,” are cozy deals through which far-left radical environmental groups file lawsuits against federal agencies wherein court-ordered “consent decrees” are issued based upon a prearranged settlement agreement they collaboratively craft together in advance behind closed doors. Then, rather than allowing the entire process to play out, the agency being sued settles the lawsuit by agreeing to move forward with the requested action both they and the litigants want.
A second example of EPA overreach is its attempt to expand the types of bodies of water over which it has jurisdiction.
Agricultural producers argue they know the best way to take care of their land -- not only to maximize production, and if they're lucky to make a profit, but also to preserve the acreage they depend on to survive.

Now, a rule being proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency outlining which bodies of water the agency would oversee under the Clean Water Act has again rattled the industry.

Farm groups contend the rule would expand the scope of water protected under the act to include not only rivers and lakes but ditches, stream-beds and self-made ponds that only carry water when it rains. Many farmers fear it amounts to nothing more than a land grab that could saddle them with higher costs, more regulatory red tape and less freedom to run their farms and ranches.
As if that's not bad enough:
In the past few years alone, the EPA has been criticized for a series of proposals that would have hurt the agricultural community, including one that would have regulated dust in rural areas... The agency also was sharply criticized after it released private information on 80,000 agricultural producers to environmental groups last year.
Regulating dust in rural areas? You might as well try to regulate cow farts.

Oh, wait...
The White House has released a Climate Action Plan that includes the targeting of methane emissions from cows and other barnyard animals that threaten the planet through belching and other, er, activities.
The Supreme Court dealt a rare rebuke to the EPA recently.
The court said the EPA had no authority to issue regulations that differed so radically from the Clean Air Act’s plain language – and affirms that the EPA and every other executive agency is indeed subject to the court’s jurisdiction, despite protests to the contrary...

... the court’s unanimous opinion means that the EPA greenhouse gas regulations cannot be enforced against millions of Americans – the local mom-and-pop store, the local bakery, your house of worship – because the new rules are outside the bounds of the Clean Air Act.
Despite this ruling, the EPA has now come up with a new way to impose their regulatory will on Americans. This one is really scary.
The Environmental Protection Agency has quietly floated a rule claiming authority to bypass the courts and unilaterally garnish paychecks of those accused of violating its rules, a power currently used by agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service.

The EPA has been flexing its regulatory muscle under President Obama, collecting more fines each year and hitting individuals with costly penalties for violating environmental rules, including recently slapping a $75,000 fine on Wyoming homeowner Andy Johnson for building a pond on his rural property.
That ties back into the expansion of the Clean Water Act mentioned above. But garnishing wages without due process is something that, to date, only the IRS has dared try.
Critics said the threat of garnishing wages would be a powerful incentive for people to agree to expensive settlements rather than fight EPA charges.
No doubt.
The EPA said it deemed the action as not a “significant regulatory action” and therefore not subject to review.
[Snorts disgustedly...]

I guess the EPA's mission statement says something about overtaking the IRS as the most feared and despised federal agency.

They're well on their way to accomplishing that...


Well Seasoned Fool said...

They put "boots on the ground" to enforce this in rural areas, and they may need those alleged FEMA coffins.

Old NFO said...

+1 on WSF... Folks are NOT happy... Especially with the 'new' garnishment set up...

CenTexTim said...

WSF & NFO - we've got some ranchers around here who feel the same way. They figure it's THEIR land, and THEIR stock tanks, that they built by themselves without help from anyone. And now the EPA is going to come in and tell them what they can and can't do?!? Ain't gonna happen.