Skip to comments.U.S. Supreme Court wades into Michigan dispute over wetlands [property rights]
Posted on 10/12/2005 9:28:20 PM PDT by grundle
Accepting the appeal of a Michigan developer who has become a hero to the property-rights movement, the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday said it will decide whether the federal government has the authority to regulate wetlands miles away from a river or other waterway.
The justices will decide whether John Rapanos, a grandfather in his 70s, was within his rights when he filled in wetlands on his property without a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Mr. Rapanos had hoped to build a shopping center on his land.
They must decide whether to sustain $13 million in civil fines and fees imposed against Mr. Rapanos. He was also convicted in a separate criminal case, but was sentenced to probation.
The court also agreed to review a decision against two other Michigan property owners, June and Keith Carabell, who were denied a permit to fill part of their land for the construction of condominiums.
The outcome could have implications for government authority in regulating construction in obviously environmentally sensitive areas. The Army Corps of Engineers regulates work on wetlands.
"They define wetlands so broadly that even dry desert areas of Arizona are being called wetlands," said Paul Kamenar, a lawyer with the Washington Legal Foundation, one of the conservative groups that called on the court to intervene.
(Excerpt) Read more at post-gazette.com ...
"They define wetlands so broadly that even dry desert areas of Arizona are being called wetlands," said Paul Kamenar
This is the best line on this subject. Can't make it any better. The enviro whackos must be put in their place. Roberts' credentials and leadership will be known soon.
However, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and other states in that general region have a literal surplus of wetlands..
Certain areas, not contiguous to rivers and lakes, or part of a recognized wetlands "system" should not be considered endangered, critical, necessary, etc..
The problem, of course, is that government agencies have taken the broadest interpretation of the wetlands act, and implemented it to the ridiculous..
Some simple common sense is needed..
Too bad it has to go all the way to the Supreme Court in a search for someone with common sense..
And, unfortunately, there is no guarantee that common sense will be found in the SCOTUS..
The quote was obviously sarcastic.
I hope Roberts will show his leadership and conservatism on these cases. They should cut the crap out and limit the definition of Wetlands. In any case, what role and right does the Federal Government have controlling and regulating land use in a locality?
Dollars to donuts it's the Interstate Commerce Clause, ICC, of The US Constitution. It's the most overused clause and was never intended for such acts.
There's actually a case (can't find the cite) where wetlands protection was upheld because ducks who used a pond were engaged in "interstate commerce". Actually, I think it was the hunters who were engaged in interstate commerce, but it sure would sound funny if the ICC abuse wasn't true.
Totally ridiculous to apply the Commerce clause to this madness. Time for the SCOTUS to give control back to states.
Federal authority over rivers and waterways..
If a "wetland" is a contiguous part of a river-type system or some other waterway, then feds have jurisdicion..
It's the same authority that applies to the US Corps of Engineers work on rivers, dams, levees, canals, etc..
Constitution gives the right to the Feds to control land miles away from rivers and waterways?
Here's a history of the interpretation of the commerce clause insofar as it affects waterways.
As long as it is a navigable stream.
Look at a map of AZ, it's got lots and lots rivers and lakes.
But only one river, and a few creeks, actually contain water. The lakes are there because developers willed that they exist.
(Posting from Rotorua, NZ this week)
Let's get a few facts in here -
1) Rapanos was convicted of interferring with water evaporation, the new migratory molecule rule. Under this new rule, any water on private property may be regulated under the Clean Water Act because it might evaporate and migrate to a navigable waterway.
2) Rapanos never interferred with any wetland on his property.
3) He refused to pay a $270,000 tribute to the leech attorneys and junk scientists hanging around the fascist EPA to "study" the wetlands on his property. That's why he was charged.
4) The US attorney in this case engaged in illegal harassment and violated his civil rights. Government witnesses lied under oath, illegally trespassed on his property and attempted to force bribes from Rapanos.
5)The US Supreme Court overturned Rapanos conviction and told the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider the case in light of its Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. United States (SWANCC) decision. This decision states that the Clean Water Act cannot extend to such non-navigable waterways like puddles and ponds and standing water. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals told the USSC to go take a flying leap and convicted Rapanos again.
This case tells of a fascist federal bureaucracy gone crazy and a rogue appeals court hoisting the black flag of anarchy in the courtroom.
If this bureaucratic juggernaut is not firmly reigned in by the Supreme Court - and soon - the founding principle of the people's right to own, and reasonably use private property, will be irreparably damaged, wrote M. David Stirling, vice president of the Pacific Legal Foundation, a public-interest legal organization that represented Rapanos in several stages of this case.
Rational observers looking at the Rapanos decision come to the indelible conclusion that parts of the federal government are certifiably insane: Puddles are navigable waterways. Supreme court decisions are ignored by an appeals court. Original intent of Congressional law is keelhauled. The law is whatever an unelected bureaucrat says it is. And American citizens are expected to sit and eat this totalitarian garbage.
Bureaucrats must be stripped of their illegal law making power, judges that ignore supreme court decisions must be impeached and politicians that allow unelected tyrants to write law must be thrown from office.
The Rapanos harassment makes clear that environmental law has nothing to do with the environment. Its about control. Its about expanding federal power over every blade of grass and tree in America.
I had a dispute with a neighboring property owner. They thought they could ride their horses on my land. I had asked them not to.
I built a pond. WV law gives me the right to do so, without a permit, under certain conditions. I built my pond, accordingly, on the side of a mountain (1085 ft above sea level), along a PART TIME (seasonal) stream.
My neighbors found an opening, and filed a complaint. I ended up being fined $5000 because I did not get a permit from the Corps of Engineers. Go figure...
We're in court now, Round 3 (discovery)...
Check back on my #7..
The operative word is "contiguous"..
As opposed to "continuous, where each point is actually connected to the next, in the case I stated, those points only need to be "in Proximity" to each other to be considered a SYSTEM.. and therefore connected..
You could have several or numerous swamps, bogs, lakes, ponds, etc., that are interconnected in some way, and they would be considered "part of" a waterway or system of waterways..
In keeping with the fed's overreaching attitude, ALL would be within their authority..
Not saying it's right or proper, just saying, give 'em an inch,.....
My hope is that the Roberts' court will keep them with an inch. :-)
Limited government power should be the operative word.
That's horrible that your neighbors and the government are doing that to you.
RFE List PING.
If I pee on my lawn, will the DOI come in and declare it a "wetland?"
Thanks for posting.
Oh? Then what is the Corps doing in the mountains in the middle of Idaho, classifying as wetlands bog areas where snow stays into late spring?
If we had a congress that actually did something, this would never happen. The Corps of Engineers should never have been allowed this type of unregulated authority.
maryland has based its entire wetland regulations on a corps of engineer flyover assessment... they took the corps suggested wetland areas and made them law... if there is a disputed area, then they will come out and declare it a wetland so there is no mistake...
been there, tried to stop it.