Skip to comments.Fighting Overreaching Federal Government in Landmark U.S. Supreme Court Case (property rights)
Posted on 02/09/2006 3:53:03 PM PST by freedomdefender
To: National Desk; Supreme Court, Legal and Environment Reporters
Contact: Dawn Collier of the Pacific Legal Foundation, 916-419-7111
WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- When John Rapanos began moving sand on his property in 1988, federal officials showed up, ordered him to stop, and began what has turned into an 18-year battle over the federal government's authority over wetlands.
On Tuesday, Feb. 21, Pacific Legal Foundation will argue the case of Rapanos, a 70-year-old grandfather of six, before the United States Supreme Court. The case will decide whether the federal government has authority over virtually all water in the United States or whether wetlands far from navigable waters are solely under the jurisdiction of states.
No one disputes the federal government's authority over waterways that can be used for shipping or commerce and wetlands adjacent to those waterways. But, in Rapanos's case, the wetlands are 20 miles from any navigable water.
"We are asking the Court to clearly limit the federal government's power and properly leave regulation of inland wetlands to states and other local jurisdictions, consistent with the law and the Constitution," said Reed Hopper, a principal attorney for Pacific Legal Foundation, which is representing Rapanos.
"Overzealous federal prosecutors have used every tool available to punish a 70-year-old Michigan grandfather for moving sand from one end of his property to another, even asking a judge to put him in prison for five years."
"This case is about the federal government overstepping its authority, not about whether our water will be clean," Hopper said. "In fact, government agencies that provide clean water for tens of millions of Americans are supporting this landowner because they want the Court to put an end to federal overreaching."
The case comes before the High Court five years after the Court rebuked federal officials for asserting authority over small inland ponds in Illinois. In that case, the Court said the water was outside the jurisdiction of the federal government.
Despite that decision, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have continued to pursue Rapanos and others who alter remote inland wetlands without federal permits.
Rapanos's case has drawn the interest of groups representing hundreds of water agencies, who have joined amicus briefs in support of his position.
"Agencies on the front lines of providing clean water for tens of millions of Americans support Rapanos because they have seen first-hand the abuse of the law by the federal government," Hopper said. "Drainage ditches, concrete water runoffs, even pipes -- the federal government considers them all to be within its jurisdiction. In the federal government's view, every drop of water in the country is within its reach."
"Congress never gave federal officials such authority and our Constitution clearly leaves that power to the states," Hopper said.
A broad coalition representing hundreds of government agencies, utilities, water users, and environmental interests are among those supporting Rapanos. They include:
-- The State of Alaska, which has more than half the nation's wetlands within its jurisdiction.
-- The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the nation's largest urban water district.
-- The Association of California Water Agencies, which represents about 90 percent of the public water agencies in California.
-- The Western Urban Water Coalition, a national coalition of municipal water agencies that serve most of the largest cities in the western United States and a total of 31 million urban water consumers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Washington.
-- The Western Coalition of Arid States, which includes more than 100 water and wastewater utilities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Texas.
-- The State of Utah.
-- The 1.1 million-member National Association of Realtors.
-- The National Federation of Independent Businesses Legal Foundation.
-- The Foundation for Environmental and Economic Progress.
-- The former head of Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality.
"A broad coalition of people have come together to stand side by side with a man who has been mercilessly pursued by the federal government," Hopper said. "Unfortunately, government officials have taken it upon themselves to rewrite the law and give themselves power that Congress and our Constitution never intended."
"When one citizen is abused by government, we all lose," Hopper said.
About Pacific Legal Foundation
Founded in 1973, Pacific Legal Foundation is the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit public interest legal organization dedicated to property rights protection, limited government, and individual rights. More information on PLF is available at http://www.pacificlegal.org.
You got it, YOUGOTIT. That's the way it is.
This is quite the case.
The EPA fascists committed perjury, trespassed on Rapanos' property, violated his civil rights and told both congress and the USSC to go to hell.
This is the case that can be used to throw the arrogant fascists out of the EPA and into federal prison. In fact there's enough dirt here to shut down the EPA - forever.
And that surprises anyone?
I agree, the EPA should be shut down altogether. Off the top of my head the EPA has done more to erode private property rights than any other entity I can think of.
Where in Michigan?