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EXPANDING GOVERNMENT POWERS WITH THE REMOVAL OF ONE SINGLE WORD

Adversarial government...

Unfortunately, we are living in a time when our government is often a government by the lawyers, for the lawyers; where each bureaucrat becomes an advocate for a self-serving position and that the common citizens are often treated as adversaries.

So it is in the government's self-interest to insinuate themselves in every aspect of a citizen's life so as to maintain both political control and a steady flow of supporting revenue.

The language of the law...

The third lesson* learned in law school is that the law is never absolute; that a creative lawyer can often bend the language of the law and precedential cases to their will in order to serve as an effective advocate for their client.

Removing a single word from a law may make each and every property owner responsible to the federal government for the use of their private property...

At issue is H.R. 2421, the Clean Water Restoration Act of 2007, also known as  the Oberstar/Feingold Clean Water Restoration Act, that has been introduced "to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to clarify the jurisdiction of the United States over waters of the United States."

Which is a blatant attempt to greatly expand the powers of the federal government under the guise of improving the Clean Water Act.

The word that is slated for removal is  "navigable" ...

According to the Congressional Research Service, this legislation:

"Amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) to replace the term "navigable waters," throughout the Act, with the term "waters of the United States," defined to mean all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, the territorial seas, and all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, natural ponds, and all impoundments of the foregoing, to the fullest extent that these waters, or activities affecting them, are subject to the legislative power of Congress under the Constitution." <Source>

Prairie potholes?

potpic1

"Prairie potholes are depressional wetlands (primarily freshwater marshes) found most often in the Upper Midwest, especially North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. This formerly glaciated landscape is pockmarked with an immense number of potholes, which fill with snowmelt and rain in the spring. Some prairie pothole marshes are temporary, while others may be essentially permanent. Here a pattern of rough concentric circles develops. Submerged and floating aquatic plants take over the deeper water in the middle of the pothole while bulrushes and cattails grow closer to shore. Wet, sedgy marshes lie next to the upland." <Source>

Landowners, farmers and sportsmen are concerned with the proposed legislation ...

According to USA today...

"A proposal backed by environmentalists to change one word in the Clean Water Act and subject tens of millions more acres of land to new federal oversight has ranchers and farmers fuming."

"'It's a huge grab for more federal intervention in our lives, and we don't need that,' says Montana cattle rancher Randy Smith says."

"Smith sometimes diverts water on his 20,000-acre spread for the sake of his animals or crops. He worries that doing so under a new law will mean lots of paperwork, lawyers and site visits rather than a few scrapes of a backhoe."

"'We're perfectly capable of doing what's right for the land,' says Smith, who has 1,000 head of cattle in Glen. 'We know that if we don't take care of it, we won't take care of our animals.'"

The far-left liberals who have co-opted the environmental movement as another tool to advance their Marxist agenda are now rejoicing...

"Jim Murphy, a lawyer for the National Wildlife Federation, says the law must be revised to protect not only the water on the lands at issue but the waters they flow into. He says the waters and wetlands now outside the scope of the law 'provide incredible functions to the health of all watersheds' and are valuable as aquatic habitats, sources of drinking water and flood prevention."

"The Clean Water Act of 1972 makes it illegal to pollute 'navigable' waters. Over the decades, disputes arose over the government's expanding definition of "navigable," and some landowners complained that the word was being interpreted too broadly."

"Two Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006 came down on the side of landowners, ruling that ponds at the bottom of a gravel pit and a marsh miles from any lake or river were not navigable and thus not subject to the act."

"Murphy says the new language would cover an additional 20 million acres; the Illinois Farm Bureau says it would be more like 55 million acres."

There are enough laws on the books that prevent individuals and corporations from polluting the land, water and air.

"Feingold says the word change is in keeping with how the Clean Water Act had been interpreted and enforced over the years. Zach Lowe, Feingold's spokesman, says the bill is needed to protect the water quality of thousands of tiny lakes and streams in the Lower 48 states."

"Rob Fowler, a lawyer who represents Business Alliance for Responsible Development in Birmingham, disagrees. He says Feingold's bill goes too far and would require federal permits for drainage ditches in housing developments, which he calls 'ludicrous.'"

Every wet spot in the United States? 

"[Reed] Hopper, a lawyer with the Pacific Legal Foundation of Simi Valley, Calif., which promotes property rights, says the Feingold bill 'would federalize literally every wet spot in the United States.'"

"Like the original Clean Water Act, Feingold's measure exempts 'normal' farming, forestry and ranching. Hopper says that phrase offers little protection because what's normal to farmers may not be normal to an agency."

Lawyerly interpretation of the language...

"For example, in 2004 the Army Corps of Engineers, which enforces the Clean Air Act, issued a cease-and-desist order to Brad Goehring, a wine grape grower in Clements, Calif., for tilling his land in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Goehring says he was converting pastures to vineyards. But Mike Finan of the corps in Sacramento says the change from grazing, in which the land remains in a more natural setting, to grape growing required a permit."

"Goehring says and Feingold's bill would criminalize normal farming work. 'In the past, if a cattle rancher put out a salt lick, the cattle kick up the dirt, which creates a mud puddle, which the Army Corps of Engineers wants to call a wetland,' Goehring says. 'They range from 1 square foot to 20 by 20 feet. The average depth is 2 inches of water.'"

Raising the cost of food even further...

"Tim Recker, president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, says Feingold's bill would place an unreasonable burden on people who are not polluting but just raising crops and livestock and using water to do it."

"In his contracting business, Recker installs farm drainage systems that keep soil and fertilizer in fields and out of streams. He says that under Feingold's bill, instead of getting approval of local officials for the systems, he'll have to hire a lawyer, go through a federal permitting process and wait 12 to 15 months."

Any excuse will do...

One of the most egregious tactics of the far-left is to file a lawsuit which ultimately results in the bankruptcy of the defendant due to legal expenses or a quick settlement which pumps additional dollars into the organization's coffers. In many cases, the delay of the original project beyond its viable commercial life is the goal.

The project to develop Playa Vista on the property of the old Hughes Aircraft plant were delayed for years and at a cost of millions of dollars while environmentalists waited for a butterfly or some protected species to land anywhere on the property. Had this law been enacted, the project would have been further delayed as the land was somewhat marshy in places.

Enough is enough...

To politicians, everything requires legislation. It doesn't matter that there is a patchwork of existing and new legislation which may be confusing and contradictory. Lawyers thrive on chaos. Besides, the media only covers new legislation and lobbyists on contribute to pursue or prevent new legislation. But this proliferation of the law is rapidly getting out of hand -- dragging the United States down to the level of being subject to the whims of petty bureaucrats acting like dictators of a banana republic.

What can YOU do?

Watch the progress of this bill. If it is reported out of committee, contact your elected official and tell them there are already enough laws on the books to control pollution.

Remember that the law is a potent weapon when wielded by the  far-left. They are literally using our own laws against us for their own nefarious purposes.

Many ecologists strongly believe that the problem with planet earth is man and that they need to do everything in their power to curtail any commercial development or the destruction of so-called pristine lands.

It is these crazies who have caused our current energy crisis as they fought against clean nuclear energy and drilling for oil offshore or within the continental United States. Keeping an enormous oil field off-line and undeveloped to protect the "pristine land" is unnecessary and unreasonable. Where they thought that the Caribou would be decimated by the Alaskan Pipeline, they were shocked to see that the animals were thriving and the herds expanding.

Ignore the crazies and force our elected officials to concentrate on the needs of the United States over those of the special interests with their countless lawyers and lobbyists.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

Quote of the day: "

Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks." -- Doug Larson

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Proposed change to water law riles landowners - USATODAY.com

* Lessons from Law School

Lesson one: the profession is paramount -- without the profession to protect and nurture you, you would be another working stiff.

Lesson two: it really doesn't matter what side you are on as both sides, however despicable, deserve capable representation by an able advocate. Remember: a single attorney in a town makes a living; two attorneys create a bonanza.

Lesson four: the creation of billable hours is a malleable definition which can be stretched to cover thinking about a client while playing golf or eating dinner... and even while engaging in drunken sex. It is the intent that matters.


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS

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