EPA’s war on property rights?
“War,” as political metaphor, is most often a tasteless accessory that demeans the term to those who have actually experienced it (“war on poverty,” “war on drugs”). But to the extent it connotes a full-fledged attempt to subjugate a group of people by depriving them of their rights, the term may appropriately describe the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) posture toward landowners.
The case of Sackett v. EPA, decided last month by the Supreme Court, shed light on just how far the agency will go to achieve its aims. Its tactics should disturb every citizen who is striving for the American dream. And major reforms are needed to ensure that dream remains viable.
As pointed out in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s amicus brief, the EPA takes a scorched-earth approach in dealings with landowners.
The brief notes an internal memorandum the EPA produced in a previous case that directs its field agents to issue compliance orders that are “ugly, onerous and tough,” to make it “very unpleasant” for property owners so they choose not to risk a game of “Russian Roulette.”