Government Bullies, by Senator Rand Paul (R, KY): on Environment

Anthony Kennedy: "Navigable waters" includes "significant nexus" to water

The Army Corps of Engineers defines wetlands as "adjacent to waters (other than waters that are themselves wetlands)". Yet even according to that broad, ambiguous definition, the defendant in the Rapanos case was not in violation of the Clean Water Act. The closest stream was over 20 miles away.

Justice Kennedy defined "navigable waters" as applying to any land or water that has a "significant nexus" to navigable waters, and the plot of land or water must be significant enough "to perform important functions for an aquatic system incorporating navigable waters." Kennedy's definition did not go on to explain the process of the "significant nexus" test, this placing more ambiguity and broad power in the hands of the government.

Although property rights supporters saw this Court ruling in a positive light, there is no question that the Rapanos decision left our clean water laws a little murkier than they were before.

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p. 62-63 Sep 12, 2012

Antonin Scalia: "Navigable waters" should have permanent surface connection

During the Supreme Court battle [in the Rapanos case defining wetlands], the EPA premised its enforcement proceeding on a "hydrological connection" between navigable water and Rapanos's property. Based on this outrageous test, the federal government brought criminal charges against Rapanos because the sand he moved on his property "backfilled" intermittently saturated bits of land on his property, and because of the hypothetical threat that some of that sand might be carried by rainwater through old runoff drains and, after a journey through culverts, creeks, and ditches, end up in the Kawkawlin River, 20 miles away.

The court was split in its decision. 5 justices--Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito, and Kennedy--were not convinced of Rapanos's conviction. Justice Scalia, on behalf of 4 justices, determined that the Clean Water Act's definition of "navigable waters" applies to any parcel of land or water that drains to or is in the extended watershed of navigable waters.

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p. 62-63 Sep 12, 2012

George Bush Sr.: 1989: America will lose no wetlands on my watch

The stories will shock you. A nurse separated from her small child and sentenced to 87 months in prison for moving dirt on her own land.

Did an arrogant and armed "wetlands police" arrive with the election of President Obama? No, this rogue government agency's origins come from a seemingly responsible piece of legislation called the Clean Water Act. In 1989, President George H. W. Bush vowed that America would lose no "wetlands" under his watch (a vow he unfortunately kept better than his "no new taxes" pledge). Under the 1st President Bush, a government wetlands manual was created that essentially emboldened federal agents' power, allowing them to seek out and punish private property owners for doing nothing more than moving dry dirt on dry land. The federal government had--however erroneously, illogically, or nonsensically--defined these dry areas as "wetlands." It turns out that a wetlands is simply whatever an agency like the EPA says it is.

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p. xxvii Sep 12, 2012

Heritage Foundation: No criminal penalties for violating foreign wildlife laws

The Lacey Act is a conservation law that attempts to prohibit trafficking in "illegal" wildlife, fish and plants, including imports "in violation of any foreign law."

As Paul Larkin of the Heritage Foundation explains, "The Lacey Act would not raise concern if the only penalty were a civil fine, but the law authorizes up to one year's imprisonment for every violation of the act." Notably, the original Lacey Act of 1900 contained a penalty "not exceeding $200," and there was no provision imposing jail or prison time.

As the Heritage Foundation notes, the Lacey Act in fact "violates one of the fundamental tenets of Anglo-American common law: that 'men of common intelligence' must be able to understand what a law means.. The criminal law must be clear not to the average lawyer, but to the average PERSON. Even if there were lawyers who could readily answer intricate questions of foreign law--and do so for free--the criminal law is held to a higher standard\."

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p.146-148 Sep 12, 2012

Rand Paul: Citizens run afoul of vague definition of "wetlands"

The Clean Water Act never even mentioned the term "wetlands" while passing through Congress for approval. The unelected bureaucracy simply created the concept and defines it in distinct terminology dependent upon whatever scenario they are currently considering. "Wetlands" quite literally can mean whatever the EPA wants it to mean.

The definition of wetlands has become so absurd and transparent that the Army Corps of Engineers developed the "migratory bird theory." This theory states that if your land is a stopping point for any migratory bird that has traveled between real navigable waters, then your land is now de facto connected to the interstate navigable streams. I'm not kidding.

This theory is irrational & completely illogical. How did it ever become enforceable law? It happened because Congress has abdicated its duty in this area. Citizens often run afoul of these rules inadvertently due to the constant evolution of complex and unexplained regulations.

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p. 19-20 Sep 12, 2012

Rand Paul: EPA enforcement nullifies due process and judicial review

[The Sacketts were building their own home when the EPA ordered them to stop ]. They requested a hearing before the EPA where they could challenge the agency's claim that their property was a wetland. The EPA refused, claiming property owners have no right to a hearing regarding compliance orders. Throughout this waiting process, the daily $75,000 fine continued to accumulate.

However, they filed their own lawsuit in federal court, arguing that the Administrative Procedure Act entitled them to a hearing before a judge. Yet the Sixth and Fourth Circuits rejected any possibility of judicial review. Is this not a complete violation of the separation-of-powers principle? These circuit courts essentially handed the EPA free rein over innocent Americans and their private property. Our government was literally telling the Sacketts that in the US, you are free--unless the EPA decides to get involved, at which point your right to due process and private property becomes null and void.

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p. 35-36 Sep 12, 2012

Rand Paul: EPA regulations cost $15 trillion in 2012

Since its creation in 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency has done more harm than good. EPA regulations cost more than 5% of our annual gross domestic product (which was over $15 trillion in 2012). This is equivalent to the costs of defense and homeland security combined. Most Americans are unaware of this.

Too often our rights are violated by abusive and power-hungry EPA bureaucrats who use threats, coercion, and force to implement power grabs. I wish these instances of abuse were random and the exception, but they have unfortunately come to characterize what many Americans now rightly see as a rogue government agency. EPA regulations have hampered landowners' ability to manage their private property as they please and have seriously impaired job creation. As with the massive cost of the EPA, many Americans are unaware of the routine suffering caused by the overreach of such regulatory agencies.

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p. 5-6 Sep 12, 2012

Rand Paul: Land rules made by delusional government interventionists

One landowner wishing to build a home on a 1.1-acre lot on the Monterrey Peninsula (CA) was required to attend 20-plus public hearings. This process took over 3 years and cost over $600,000.

During one of the dozens of hearings held regarding this property, an architectural review board member said, "In my former life as a seagull, I was flying up and down the California coastline and saw your house built shaped as a seashell." And because his house plan did not match the seashell-shaped house this board member envisioned in her previous life as a bird, she voted against approving any of his plans.

Some would argue this board member to be certifiably insane. This landowner's American dream and basic constitutional right to private property was stifled due to a person in a position of power who is delusional at best. This is literally crazy--and if this story does not illustrate the perils of power-hungry government interventionists, then I do not know what does.

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p. 77-78 Sep 12, 2012

Rand Paul: Navigable waters should mean permanently flowing

What is a "navigable stream," exactly? Well, as one Corps agent admitted, "Whatever we say it is." The Supreme Court didn't define navigable waters, but it did say, at least, that citizens have the right to contest in court the Corps' assertions concerning what constitutes a wetland.

It remains a dangerous situation, though, because the definition of "navigable" is still nebulous and arbitrarily decided by the Corps. Congress has abdicated its responsibility to provide clear laws and guidelines for regulators and citizens to follow. I have introduced the Defense of the Environment and Property Act of 2012 in order to:

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p. 90-92 Sep 12, 2012

Rand Paul: Our federal government regulates everything and anything

Ronald Reagan famously said, "The 9 most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" 3 decades later, American life is micromanaged at every imaginable level. Citizens' basic day-to-day activities are subject to government scrutiny. We endure a federal government that has invaded virtually every aspect of our lives--from light bulbs, to toilets, to lemonade stands and beyond.

Our federal government regulates everything and anything. How much water goes into you commode. How much water comes out of your showerhead. The temperature of the water in your washing machine. How many miles to the gallon your car must get.

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p. xxiii Sep 12, 2012

Ron Paul: Cross-state purchase of raw milk is constitutional right

I was outraged and introduced a bill to allow the shipment and distribution of unpasteurized milk products for human consumption across state lines. This legislation would remove the unconstitutional restraint on farmers who wish to sell or otherwise distribute, and people who wish to consume, unpasteurized milk and milk products.

Americans have the right to consume these products without having the federal government second-guess their judgment or thwart their wishes. If there are legitimate concerns about the safety of unpasteurized milk, those should be addressed at the state and local level. Many Americans have done their own research and come to the conclusion that unpasteurized milk is healthier than pasteurized.

Citizens doing their own research on what they put into their bodies, learning about what they can eat, drink, or take for medicinal purposes--this information is often blocked by agencies like the FDA, a clear violation of the First Amendment.

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p. xv Sep 12, 2012

Samuel Alito: EPA enforcement gives no recourse to homeowners

In the words of one former Army Corps of Engineers official, "for regulatory purposes, a wetland is whatever we decide it is." Courts have taken the deferential attitude that they cannot question themselves to take up whether or not the EPA has followed their own moving-target rules.

Justice Samuel Alito was most skeptical while questioning the Justice Department's deputy solicitor general and legal counsel for the EPA, exclaiming, "Don't you think most ordinary homeowners would say this kind of thing can't happen in the US? You buy property to build a house. You think maybe there is a little drainage problem in part of your lot, so you start to build the house and then you get an order from the EPA which says: You have filled in wetlands, so you can't build your house; remove the fill, put in all kinds of plants; and now you have to let us on your premises whenever we want to."

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p. 37-39 Sep 12, 2012

Stephen Breyer: EPA regulations ignores precedent of judicial review

In the words of one former Army Corps of Engineers official, "for regulatory purposes, a wetland is whatever we decide it is." Courts have taken the deferential attitude that they cannot question themselves to take up whether or not the EPA has followed their own moving-target rules.

Justice Stephen Breyer implied that the EPA was thumbing its nose at 75 years of judicial precedent, during which "the courts have interpreted statutes with an eye towards permitting judicial review, not the opposite."

It was with great pleasure that we saw the Supreme Court rule 9-0. Every member of the bench saw what was wrong with the EPA and our federal government giving no recourse to its citizens.

Source: Government Bullies, by Rand Paul, p. 37-39 Sep 12, 2012

  • The above quotations are from Government Bullies
    How Everyday Americans Are Being Harrassed, Abused, And Imprisoned by the Feds

    by Rand Paul
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2012 Presidential contenders on Environment:
Pres.Barack Obama(IL)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)

Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
Third Parties:
Green: Dr.Jill Stein(MA)
Libertarian: Gov.Gary Johnson(NM)
Justice: Mayor Rocky Anderson(UT)
Constitution: Rep.Virgil Goode(VA)
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Reform Party: André Barnett(NY)
AmericansElect: Gov.Buddy Roemer(LA)
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Page last updated: Dec 28, 2013