Under 8 years of Barack Obama, the EPA assumed dictatorial powers over hundreds of American landowners. They swooped in with their tyrannical agenda of controlling all public and private land in America and blocked many homeowners from making any improvements or building on their own properties. To make it worse, the EPA believed that no individual or land owner had the legal right to challenge their dictates.
In the western US, numerous land owners and municipalities have been told they can no longer use their wells for water as they are tied into groundwater that may drain into a stream, river or lake elsewhere. Tombstone, Arizona is a prime example of how the EPA and the Obama administration have cut off the town’s main water supply.
John Rapanos owned 20 acres of land in Michigan. He wanted to build a shopping center on his land, but the Environmental Protection Agency ordered him to stop construction slapped him with fines. Although his property was 20 miles away from the nearest waterway, the EPA used the waterway and wetlands to prevent Rapanos from developing his own land. His lawsuit against the EPA, who claimed no private citizen had the right challenge them, also made it to the US Supreme Court where a 4-1-4 decision barely went in Rapanos’ favor.
In one such case, Mike and Chantell Sackett purchased nearly two-thirds of an acre in a new development at Priest Lake, Idaho. They set about making their plans for their dream home. Before they could start building the house, they spent three days hauling in dirt to fill in areas on the lot and get everything leveled off.
Suddenly, officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers showed up on the site and ordered the couple to halt all activity. It turns out the agencies suddenly declared the land in the new subdivision was a wetland. Six months later they received a compliance order from the EPA informing them that the lot was a wetland and that they had to restore it back to its natural condition. If they did not comply with the order, the EPA notice said that they could be fined up to $37,500 per day.
Fortunately, the Sacketts, fought the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, taking their case all the way to the US Supreme Court who ruled in favor of the Sacketts.
President Donald Trump vowed to stop the EPA from abusing their power and stealing private lands. When he announced his nominee to head the EPA, hundreds of former and current EPA employees began asking the Senate to reject Trump’s nominee, Scott Pruitt to head the organization.
For six years, Pruitt served as Oklahoma’s Attorney General. During his tenure, Pruitt launched numerous lawsuits against the EPA, challenging their regulations and efforts to control industry and private citizens. He was often vocally critical of the EPA and their assumed dictatorial powers.
This past Friday, Pruitt woke up as Oklahoma’s Attorney General and went to bed as the sworn in head of what many believed to be one of his arch-enemies, the Environmental Protection Agency.
In a report by The Washington Post:
“Pruitt begins what is likely to be a controversial tenure with a clear set of goals. He has been outspoken in his view, widely shared by Republicans, that the EPA zealously overstepped its legal authority under President Barack Obama, saddling the fossil-fuel industry with unnecessary and onerous regulations.”
“But rolling back the environmental actions of the previous administration won’t happen quickly or easily. Even if President Trump issues executive orders aimed at undoing Obama initiatives to combat climate change, oversee waterways and wetlands and slash pollution from power plants — as he is expected to do as early as next week — existing regulations won’t disappear overnight…”
“In addition, Pruitt will encounter an EPA workforce on edge, in which some employees are wary about the direction he plans to take the agency and fearful he might adhere more to ideology than science. Environmental groups also are likely to oppose him at every turn, eager to sue over any rollback of existing regulations.”
“For his part, Pruitt has said he intends to return the agency to its central mission of protecting the quality of the nation’s air and water while respecting the role of states as primary enforcers of environmental laws.”
“‘It is our state regulators who oftentimes best understand the local needs and the uniqueness of our environmental challenges,’ he said during his confirmation hearing last month.”
Hopefully, Pruitt will be able to reshape the EPA into what it was intended to be, instead of what the greedy socialists of the Obama administration turned it into. Private landowners should be able to breathe a breath of fresh air and go to bed without being worried if they are about to face outrageous fines for making simple improvements to their property.