A Victory Against Obama’s Green Tyranny

Rich Trzupek is a veteran environmental consultant and senior advisor to the Heartland Institute. He is the author of the new book Regulators Gone Wild: How the EPA is Ruining American Industry (Encounter Books).


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A sleepy fen, hosting a diverse mix of unusual flora and fauna that is located next to a major river clearly qualifies as a jurisdictional wetland. That’s the kind of ecosystem that the wetlands program was designed to protect. On the other hand, a few cat-tails growing in a pair of tire ruts that lead to a drainage ditch that empties into a creek that feeds a small river that eventually leads to a navigable waterway isn’t a wetland in any ecological sense, except in the view of overly zealous EPA personnel.

Though this decision provides some relief, there’s still a long way to go to restore some kind of equity between the rights of property owners and legitimate environmental protections. Doing so will require Congress to restore some balance, something that it has been notoriously reluctant to do whenever the green lobby gets involved. Alito took a well-deserved (in the author’s opinion) backhand slap at Congress in his opinion.

“The court’s decision provides a modest measure of relief,” he added. “But the combination of the uncertain reach of the Clean Water Act and the draconian penalties imposed for the sort of violations alleged in this case still leaves most property owners with little practical alternative but to dance to the EPA’s tune. Real relief requires Congress to do what it should have done in the first place: provide a reasonably clear rule regarding the reach of the Clean Water Act.”

Yet, even if Congress dares to mildly offend environmentalists by restoring some sense of reason to the Clean Water Act, there would still be much work to be done in other areas if the EPA’s tyrannical authority is to be taken down a peg or two. The particular wording of the Clean Water Act allowed the court to rule such that future petitioners in wetlands cases can appeal to the judicial systems for access to due process. This is not so in the case of other environmental statutes. For example, the Supreme Court previously ruled in Employers Insurance of Wausau v. United States that access to judicial due process was not required under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) until the EPA completed its review. Timely access to due process is therefore a matter of the underlying statute in other words, not a universal right.

Thus, the Sackett case is a relatively small skirmish in the larger war to roll-back EPA’s vast authority.  There are more battles ahead and – sadly – most of them involve Senators and Representatives that are ill-equipped to understand the complex issues at hand and unwilling to offend environmental activists when they do.

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  • maturin20

    Louis L'Amour would be proud.

    • Rifleman

      Lol, good one.

  • Fred Dawes

    We need many more victories to free this country and free the world from fools like obama.
    Never forget obama was placed into power not by the people but by the world bankers to take us down a path of total Tyranny.

  • Ken

    One win for the little guy!! Congrats!! But watch out, the eco-loons will be gunning for you!! Those both in and out of the government!!

  • http://apollospaeks.blogtownhall.com/ ApolloSpeaks

    OBAMA'S GREEN ENERGY MACHINE IS RUNNING OUT OF GAS

    Did you know that the 4th greatest president ever, and greatest wartime leader in 500 years, also believes that he's the Christopher Columbus of green energy technologies, saving the world one wind mill at a time from the catastrophe of man made global drowning? The audacity of the man. Though oil makes the world go round it's the obsolete energy of ignorant flat earthers who want a GOP president from the medieval past offering an AFFORDABLE ENERGY ACT. Mock on Mr. President and kick us in the a$$. By November 6th, with fuel costs in the stratosphere, your green clean energy machine will end up like Solyndra and run out of gas.

    Click my name for more on this subject

    • Rick_in_VA

      Obama: A legend in his own mind.

  • Rifleman

    It's interesting that the left will give terrorists that are due a military tribunal, a jury trial, but would deny that to someone 'guilty' of trying to build a home or in some other dispute with a government regulatory agency. It reminds me of their disdain for secret ballots in unionization votes.

    • davarino

      Or totalitarian states like Soviet Russia, Communist China, Cuba, …….

      These agencies have to go. They have gained to much power and are morphing into vampires sucking the freedom out of America.

  • mrbean

    In a nation founded on the pioneer spirit, environmentalists have made “development” an evil word, attacking the man-made as an infringement on pristine nature. They inhibit or prohibit the development of the pipeline, Alaskan oil, offshore drilling, nuclear power—and every other practical form of energy. In the name of “preserving nature,” they undermine our quality of life and make us dependent on our enemies in the Mid East for oil. Housing, commerce, and jobs are sacrificed to spotted owls and snail darters. Medical research is sacrificed to the “rights” of mice. Logging is sacrificed to the “rights” of trees. As a consequence, man is to be prohibited from using nature for his own ends. Since nature supposedly has value and goodness in itself, any human action which changes the environment is necessarily branded as immoral. Environmentalist are the enemies of man.

  • Ghostwriter

    What we need here is balance. While I agree that the EPA has gotten way out of control with it's mandate,we shouldn't let industry run wild either. There should still be wetlands and other natural places for people to see and there should be development of our resources too. I think we can have both. Sadly,the extremists on both sides don't want to hear something like that.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Have you ever flown across the country and looked out the window?

      We have plenty of undeveloped land.

      • Raymond in DC

        And much of that land, especially out west, is owned by the Federal Government.

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

          Why don't we send all the threatened species out there to be eaten by predators as nature intended?

  • http://www.colorcodehex.com/ HexColor

    One has to keep in mind that the obama administration has personal inveestments in solar energy, while they are using OUR money to boost their chances of big returns. It may be a good idea to avoid purchasing anything at all where obama and ilk are cheerleaders.

  • jacob

    As the saying has it, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and I'm sure good intentions were
    those behind the creation of the EPA…
    So, in the name of Protection of the Environment, it has become a Frankenstein's monster believing
    it is more powerful than the Constitution itself to the extent that the Supreme Court has seen fit to clip
    their wings and I firnly believe it is time aready to disband it for good…

    But most of the blame falls on Congress for allowing this sad state of affairs to exist,as we have only
    to learn what this dictatorial institution had the audacity to slap these people with….beffiting only of Nazi Germany or the extinct (?) Union of the Socialist Soviet Republics

  • jacob

    MR ADMINISTRATOR :

    WOULD YOU MIND TELLING ME WHAT DID I STATE THAT WHOEVER SIGNED DAVARINO ABOVE
    DID NOT SAY ?????