On March 21, TAC reported that the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of an Idaho couple who had been petitioning the court system to be allowed to make their case concerning EPA administrative heavy handedness. The post, U.S. Supreme Court: Idaho Couple can take EPA to Court, reported that the couple had been directed by the Environmental Protection Agency to restore their newly acquired home construction plot back to its original state or face stiff fines. The EPA would not allow an appeal, or even a hearing.
Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution enumerates the main powers delegated to the federal government, specifically those of the Legislative Branch. An original understanding makes it clear that the Constitution does not authorize Congress to form a federal agency which can dictate what people can do with their private property. Just as it has no authority to demand the American people purchase something, Washington D.C. has no power to tell us what to do with personal or real property we own.
Utah, Colorado, Nevada and many other western states are neighbored by separate “federal states” which cannot be utilized for their own taxing purposes or to access the natural resources that reside within them. This is due to the fact that the federal government had either grabbed up the land when the state first entered the union, or had purchased it by some means. Regardless of how it was acquired, the federal land is within the state, and the people of that state cannot utilize it, in most cases.
Federal ownership of the land creates no benefit to the state itself. As U.S. Government Property, it is considered a resource of the U.S. Federal Government. In some instances, such as the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, the area has been deemed A UNESCO World Heritage Site and is “legally protected pursuant to the Law of War, under the Geneva Convention, its Articles, Protocols and Customs, together with other treaties including the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and international law”. Our Congress had to ratify that UN treaty. ”While each World Heritage Site remains part of the legal territory of the state wherein the site is located, UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site”.
How is that for giving away Sovereignty?
In the case of the Sackett v. EPA, Justice Alito and SCOTUS make the unanimous decision that the federal EPA has been given the ability to dictate what people can do with their own property, and that Congress should have not passed a law with such broad wording that it would be left up to the interpretation, discretion and the whims of a federal agency:
“The reach of the Clean Water Act is notoriously unclear. Any piece of land that is wet at least part of the year is in danger of being classified by EPA employees as wetlands covered by the act, and according to the federal government, if property owners begin to construct a home on a lot that the agency thinks possesses the requisite wetness, the property owners are at the agency’s mercy,” Alito wrote.
“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.”
Maybe there is some hope that Congress will work to reduce the EPA’s authority, as this video reports on the move to limit EPA taxing of gases.
How many other laws have been passed by Congress with such broad wording that it would be left up to interpretation of the enforcing agencies?