A recent circuit court decision has expanded the federal government’s power. In 2011, the Army Corps of Engineers determined that a small business in Louisiana contained federal wetlands on its private property. The company challenged the accusation in court, but the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of the Corps. This ruling declares that landowners cannot challenge a jurisdictional determination in court. In order to do so, the landowner must obtain a permit under the Clean Water Act first. Small businesses, with limited resources, are drained by this lengthy and costly process.
As small businesses continue to struggle in this economy, the government finds yet another way to make things more difficult. In an environment of uncertainty, where property rights are not absolute, landowners are thwarted from developing and innovating. Investing in projects is discouraged by the notion that the federal government can intervene at any given moment. Some may go out of business altogether from such high costs imposed by the Clean Water Act.
It is vital that we speak up before the public comment period ends. Such an unjustified land grab by the EPA is unacceptable. You can sign CFACT’s public statement to EPA here. Please circulate it to a friend. We cannot allow this new precedent to be established against private property for the expansion of bureaucratic power.