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UPDATE: FreedomWorks activists sent over 4,000 messages to the EPA to stop the proposed rule that would have given the agency the power to garnish the wages of private citizens. A notice published in the Federal Register formally withdrew the rule. The EPA had previously stated that they would withdraw the rule if adverse comments were received by August 1.
The Environmental Protection Agency, apparently not content with the obscene amount of power it already possesses, has announced a new rule that further distances itself from the traditional checks and balances in government.
The rule would give the agency the power to garnish the wages of private citizens, without a court order, if it is deemed that a violation of the EPA’s Byzantine environmental regulations has taken place. It’s the same power the IRS has when dealing with tax evasion, with the key difference that environmental regulations are not laws passed by Congress, and most people have no idea what these rules actually comprise.
After imposing a fine for a violation, which can total hundreds of thousands of dollars per day, the EPA claims the right to unilaterally seize up to 15% of a person’s wages without any due process of law. Until now, people have been able to contest rule violations in court before having to submit to fines. The new rule will place the burden of proof on the accused, who is punished as if guilty until he can demonstrate otherwise.
There has always been a concerning lack of accountability in regulatory agencies. Now, the EPA wants to circumvent the courts and just do whatever it wants. It has assumed the role, not only of lawmaker, but of law enforcement as well. It is wrong for one agency, run by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats, to both make the rules, determine punishments, and carry out those punishments without any check from the other branches of government.
Several Republican senators, including David Vitter (R-LA), have penned a letter opposing the rule asking that it be withdrawn, and citing the case of a woman who was fined $37,500 per day because rain water running across her property had come in contact with dust, feathers, and manure. These type of fines do not just affect big corporations, but individual farmers who lack the resources to comply with such outrageous demands.
You can read the full text of the rule here. The period for public comment is open until August 1st, and the EPA has indicated that, with enough public opposition, they may reconsider the rule. We need every American to push back against these intrusive regulations that allow government bureaucrats to take your money without court approval.
Do your part to stop the EPA’s regulatory overreach now. Click the button below to leave a comment and tell regulators that you won’t submit to having your wages garnished without a court order. We have until August 1st to stop this unjust power grab.