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This ban on pre-enforcement judicial review is a powerful tool that the EPA uses on a routine basis. It’s the regulatory equivalent of racketeering in a way. The Pacific Legal Foundation argues that people shouldn’t have to wait for the Agency to decide to act before acquiring some certainty. That doesn’t seem an unreasonable request, even if settling that question does not address the larger issue of overly restrictive wetlands determinations.
Predictably, environmental groups went into full Straw Man construction project mode to explain why bullying a couple trying to build their dream home is really a good thing. From a story in the Washington Post:
The danger of a Sackett victory, said Lawrence M. Levine, a senior lawyer at the Natural Resources Defense Council, is that it could allow major polluters to tie up the EPA in litigation.
“It’s really a war against federal regulation of any kind,” he added.
There’s simply no merit to either of Levine’s statements. None at all. It’s not surprising that Levine would think in terms of tying up the EPA in litigation, since that’s his organization’s modus operandi when they don’t get what they want, but suggesting that this will give major polluters (whoever they are supposed to be) a get-out-of-jail-free card is ludicrous. This is about restoring some sort of balance to a system that – thanks to the efforts of groups like NRDC – has been badly out of balance for quite some time.
Likewise, the silly argument that this is a war against all federal regulation of any kind ought to be beneath even so biased a critic as Levine. People understand that we need environmental protection and we need to look out for worker safety and we need to have speed limits and countless other measures designed to keep us safe and healthy. That said, it doesn’t follow that we should hand a blank check to every agency that’s entrusted with doing these things. Saying that you are for reasonable regulation, does not mean you are against regulation of any kind.
But then environmental groups like NRDC and the Sierra Club operate under the mindset that they should be able to sell any piece of ridiculous legislation and/or regulation to the American public by wrapping a green bow around it. Fortunately, the American people are starting to wise up. Is it too much to hope for that the Supremes do the same?
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