“Government Gone Wild”
The United States government operates under the confines of the U.S. Constitution, given only those powers expressly granted to it in this document. In many aspects of American life, however, government is acting outside those enumerated powers and has encroached upon our freedoms without checks or court reviews. A truly limited government helps its citizens by only exercising its particular and spelled out tasks and removes itself from interfering in decisions or jobs done best by private citizens or the business community.
This situation is especially evidenced in the administrative agencies of the Executive branch. These agencies now have independent authority to disseminate rules, enforce those rules, and then to adjudicate enforcement of the rules. No check on the power of these independent agencies exists. The SGLF believes that there need to be limits to the powers of these agencies and their overreach into individual states.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plays a large role in the increased federalization process. FEMA was originally created as national catastrophe response agency, not a federal program which subsidizes Americans who live in risky disaster areas. President Obama has made 343 declarations since taking office in January 2010, the most in FEMA history. Instead of creating another federal agency to handle natural disasters, Congress could establish requirements related to which circumstances can be declared natural disasters. A key way to accomplish this would be to align these declarations with measurement scales used for natural disasters. The costs associated with natural disasters in terms of lives, homes and possessions and economic costs are horrible. However, adding more and more responsibilities and obligations to the FEMA and federal government’s plate will only result in a losing situation for taxpayers.
The federal government’s acquisition of and control over land in the United States is getting out of control. According to the Department of the Interior, payment in lieu of taxes for taking land off local tax rolls under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was $358.5 million. In 2004, the Government Services Administration reported that the federal government owned some 5,104,608 acres of “vacant” land, while in 2003, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) reported that the National Park Service has deferred maintenance by billions of dollars on its land. In 2007, the GAO reported that the Interior Department spent $1.6 billion annually on maintenance and construction, but had a $9.6 billion backlog of deferred maintenance projects. Nevada itself is already 84.48% owned by the federal government, not including any foreclosed housing that the government now owns as well.
Not only does federal possession of land add to the federal deficit through maintenance and up keep costs, but it also prevents job creating activities from occurring on that land. The farming, mining, and forestry industries could all create jobs on these parcels of land that are being used for nothing and taxpayers are taking the hit for it.
Measures designed to protect the health and welfare of the environment and society are very necessary. These policies, like others that regulate businesses and citizens of the United States, should be created and enforced through their proper channels, not independently created, regulated, and enforced by one single entity. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) blatant overreach has been denounced by members of both parties. The EPA’s lack of discretion in promulgating rules has and will continue to effect jobs and energy costs. In addition to this lack of discretion, the EPA’s overregulation also weighs heavily on businesses across all fifty states. Billions of dollars yearly for compliance with the EPA’s heavy-handed measures may force businesses to leave the United States, or not choose to locate here in the first place. The EPA’s independent authority to create and then consequently unilaterally enforce these rules must be stopped.
The financial regulatory overhaul Dodd-Frank Act (DFA) decreases competition amongst financial institutions in the United States, while simultaneously treating large firms different than small ones. In treating these two types of firms different, small firms have less chance of success, and the large firms that have been deemed “too big to fail” are at a competitive advantage compared to their smaller counterparts. The DFA’s central notion that the Federal Reserve Bank will control the activities of these firms also perpetuates this unfair advantage. Decisions of competitiveness and who prevails in the free market system should be left to the system. The DFA intrudes into the marketplace and does not provide protection to other institutions that exist. This gross interference in the free enterprise system needs to be repealed or fixed immediately.
The Dodd-Frank Act:
- Intrudes into matters left to the states or businesses themselves
- Intrudes into the judicial branch’s responsibilities
- Distorts residential mortgage markets
News & Articles
Attorneys General Warn EPA over ‘Sue and Settle’ Fracking Regulations
Non-Shale States’ Threats
The letter, produced at the urging of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is further evidence of a growing rift between states with rich shale deposits of oil and natural gas, on the one hand, and the Obama administration and predominantly northeastern states, on the other. Pruitt was joined in the letter by his counterparts from Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Montana, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Wyoming, and West Virginia.
The EPA's Project Veto
A court ruling gives the agency vast new permitting power.
Arch Coal first received a state mining permit for Spruce in 1998. Following one of the most rigorous federal environmental reviews, the Army Corps in 2007 issued its approval permit with EPA signoff. Then the Obama Administration came to town and the EPA ordered the Army Corps to withdraw its permit. When the Army Corps refused, the EPA unilaterally revoked the permit, citing authority under the Clean Water Act. Arch Coal sued, and a federal judge initially ruled the EPA could not kill a permitted project ex post facto. The appeals court overruled that judgment last month, with Judge Karen Henderson finding that the statute granted the EPA "authority to prohibit/deny/restrict/withdraw a specification at any time" (our italics). Most notable here is that the Obama EPA has forced this moment. In 40 years the EPA has exercised its veto authority under the Clean Water Act only 12 times, and prior to Spruce it had never revoked a permit.
There's a proper way to oppose federal overreach
WE recently noted state efforts to nullify federal laws are a dead end, a waste of state resources that won't overturn bad federal policies. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is pursuing a better alternative. In his role as chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association, Pruitt recently authored a column in Roll Call decrying the recent passage of laws “that dramatically extended the federal government's reach into state sovereignty” and vowed to fight them in court.
“As attorneys general and chief legal officers for our states, it is our duty to stand as the last line of defense against this overreach,” Pruitt said. He specifically criticized Obamacare and Dodd-Frank financial legislation, two laws he has challenged, as well as “outright illegal administrative actions” conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department. More than a year ago, Pruitt noted, nine members of the Republican Attorneys General Association issued a report alleging 21 instances where federal policies circumvent “the law, the Constitution and the courts.” Those attorneys general are now fighting that overreach in court.
New EPA pollution rule another case of presidential overreach
The U.S. Constitution separates the branches of the federal government, forcing them to check and balance one another. It also lists and limits the power of Congress, reserving much broader authority for the states to address the concerns of their citizens. Each of these characteristics contributes to a comprehensive structure that is premised on the assumption that we are not angels, and that liberty and prosperity are threatened by any government that vests imperfect humans with unaccountable power. So, as James Madison wrote, “ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” In an ideal world, Congress, the President, and the states would each guard their own spheres of power, limiting one another and reducing the ability of any one of them to overreach.
Gov. Mead: Wyoming has no legal recourse against feds on cuts
Mead and other state officials had claimed the federal action is illegal because the money is obligated to the state. Mead said he told Attorney General Gregory Phillips he wanted to pursue legal action if there was a "snowball's chance" of success. "The word back is there is no snowball," Mead said. Wyoming and New Mexico, he said, appear to be the states hardest hit by the budget reductions.
Pruitt: State AGs Last Line of Defense Against Increasing Federal Overreach
As attorneys general and chief legal officers for our states, it is our duty to stand as the last line of defense against this overreach. Attorneys general are tasked with enforcing our states’ laws and upholding the Constitution of the United States. Like a referee or an umpire, we are here to ensure the rules aren’t broken.
It is disappointing that the president continues to take actions requiring state attorneys general to defend the rule of law and the personal freedoms of our citizens. From congressional actions pushed by the president, such as the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank, to outright illegal administrative actions, such as those from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department, the greatest challenges attorneys general face stem from the administration’s aggressive strong-arm tactics.
Republican State Attorneys General and the EPA
During President Obama’s first term, a majority of states challenged the constitutionality of Obamacare, successfully rolling back the coercive element of that law’s Medicaid expansion, and now, eleven state attorneys general are suing to invalidate the most constitutionally offensive portions of the Dodd-Frank law. And the strategy of challenging federal overreach seems to be paying off. Last August, the EPA suffered a significant defeat in federal court at the hands of Republican attorneys general who argued that the EPA’s cross-state air pollution rule exceeded the agency’s statutory authority.
Voter Registration in Supreme Court Spotlight
The case centers on a dispute over Arizona’s voter-approved Proposition 200, which was enacted in 2004 and requires voters to prove their U.S. citizenship before registering to vote. The law contradicts the federal measure, and the clash has grown to incorporate the broader arguments over state control of elections featured prominently in recent court battles over voter ID requirements and a challenge to the Voting Rights Act.
The Arizona case differs from the voter ID cases, however. It focuses on a requirement that voters show certain identification prior to registration, rather than voting. The Supreme Court has upheld voter ID requirements to be constitutional. It also doesn’t directly involve the Voting Rights Act. At issue is the question of how much proof a voter should be required to show before registering, and whether the state can go above and beyond the federal statute. The Arizona law requires voters to show documents such as a driver’s license, birth certificate, naturalization papers or passport. Federal law requires states to use a simple form that asks voters to verify their citizenship under penalty of perjury.
Public lands legislation puts federal control in cross hairs
Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, claimed the U.S. Forest Service is twisting ranchers’ arms to get them to sign over their water rights. His HB166 and a companion resolution affirm ranchers’ right of access to public lands to develop their water rights. Other popular measures took aim at the Endangered Species Act, which one lawmaker condemned as "a federal tool that hurts us." The Legislature reauthorized a $300,000 appropriation to keep wolves out of Utah. SCR3 asks the feds to hand Utah prairie dog management to Iron County and HCR7, insists no private land be designated as critical habitat for the Gunnison sage grouse.
The Legislature also passed HB164, which would allow county authorities to "mitigate" national forests they deem a threat to public safety. Thursday evening the House concurred with a Senate amendment on the bill.
EPA won't appeal Fairfax County creek ruling
The ruling will save state taxpayers an estimated $300 million in costs, said Cuccinelli, who joined Fairfax County and Virginia Department of Transportation officials in filing the lawsuit last year. "This EPA mandate would have been expensive, cumbersome, and incredibly difficult to implement," Cuccinelli said. "And it was likely to do more harm than good, as its effectiveness was unproven and it would have diverted hundreds of millions of dollars Fairfax County was already targeting for more effective methods of sediment control."
Sequestration could slow oil and gas leases
The BLM released the information in a statement. Melodie A. Lloyd, a BLM spokeswoman in Billings, said no specific information was available for Montana and that the figures are for all BLM-managed land in the nation. The BLM shares revenues generated from both of these programs with local and state governments. Development of oil and gas as well as coal on federal lands will slow down because of cuts in programs that issue permits for new development, plans for new projects, conduct environmental reviews, and inspect operations, the BLM said. Leasing of new federal lands for future development also will be delayed, with fewer resources available for agencies to prepare for and conduct lease sales.
EPA chief over Wyoming resigns, cites personal reasons
The administrator -- named to the position in April 2010 -- was no stranger to controversy during his tenure, announcing his resignation just three weeks after coming under fire from two U.S. senators who questioned his use of an Apple me.com email account to conduct official business. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., asked the agency in late January to disclose emails from the account after a message surfaced from Martin's me.com account to a high-ranking official of the Environmental Defense Fund. The message set up an official meeting.
Haley says S.C. doesn't need Washington's help to create good manufacturing climate
Her visit came four days after Rebecca Blank, U.S. deputy secretary of commerce, toured BMW Manufacturing Co. in Greer. Blank praised the Upstate as a national model for reinvigorating manufacturing and touted President Barack Obama’s plan for boosting the sector. Asked about Blank’s visit, Haley said South Carolina has created a good business climate by reducing regulations, developing its work force and taking other pro-business steps.
Holding States and Schools Accountable
At a Senate education committee hearing on Thursday to discuss waivers to states on some provisions of the law, Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, forcefully urged the federal government to get out of the way. “We only give you 10 percent of your money,” said Mr. Alexander, pressing John B. King Jr., the education commissioner for New York State. “Why do I have to come from the mountains of Tennessee to tell New York that’s good for you?”
State's Health Exchange Rejected Amid GOP Rift
In Mississippi, the rifts among Republicans have been particularly bitter. GOP Gov. Phil Bryant has opposed running one of the law's state insurance exchanges, which will allow consumers to buy health plans later this year. But the state's elected insurance commissioner, Republican Mike Chaney, last year bypassed him and applied to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to set up a state exchange, arguing it was better for Mississippi if he ran it than if the federal government stepped in.
New legislative session starts with harsh words for feds from House speaker
Lockhart, R-Provo, said the fiscal cliff deal passed by Congress on New Year's Day has cost the state revenue growth that could have been used to give Utahns a "modest" tax cut or pay for 1,600 teachers, or drug and alcohol treatment for 28,000 prisoners or services for the disabled. "One day we're looking at promising revenue forecasts as a result of years of hard work and difficult decisions, and literally the next day, we were staring at perhaps $100 million less," the speaker told House members in her opening address to the session.
EPA loses: Court tosses mandate for biofuels
The EPA can set standards for renewable fuel production as a means of spurring development, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. District ruled. But the agency crosses the legal line when it tries to impose those standards — which are largely wish lists for future developments using technology that is not yet created — on industry, and inflict punishment when the goals aren’t met, the court ruled in American Petroleum Institute v. EPA.
“Do a good job, cellulosic fuel producers. If you fail, we’ll fine your customers,” the judges scolded in their ruling, in which they found the EPA’s pressure on refiners was an overreach of authority.
Op-Ed: The EPA washes out in Virginia
In a prime example of the unlawful and economically destructive positions taken by the EPA under outgoing administrator Lisa Jackson, the agency claimed that it could regulate the stormwater running into Accotink Creek, a 25-mile-long tributary of the Potomac River. Although the EPA was forced to admit that stormwater is not a pollutant, it still claimed the authority to regulate it, claiming it was a "surrogate" for sediment, which is a regulated pollutant.
Lots of Goodies Were Stuffed into the Fiscal Cliff Deal
The EPA vs. State Economies
This program requires refiners to blend increasing quantities of biofuel — mostly corn ethanol — into the nation’s motor-fuel supply. The 2012 target is to blend 13.2 billion gallons of biofuel into our gasoline, a quantity that ratchets up to 13.8 billion gallons in 2013. This year, about 4.7 billion bushels, or 40 percent of the nation’s corn crop, will be consumed by ethanol manufacturing. The governors contend that the RFS program, combined with the worst drought in 50 years, pushed corn prices to record highs, harming their states’ poultry, beef, pork, and dairy producers, who use corn as animal feed. The Clean Air Act authorizes Lisa P. Jackson, the EPA’s administrator, to waive the RFS targets for one year if those requirements would “severely harm” the economy of a state, a region, or the United States as a whole.
Free Checking No More: Thanks, Dodd–Frank!
According to the just released 2012 Checking Survey by Bankrate, Inc., a publisher of financial information, only 39 percent of banks continue to offer free checking accounts, a sharp decline from the 76 percent of banks that offered free checking in 2009—before enactment of the massive Dodd–Frank financial regulation statute.
Arch Coal asks appellate court to uphold judge's rebuke of EPA overreach in W.Va. mine lawsuit
Final authority to issue, oversee and enforce permits issued under section 404 of the Clean Water Act lies solely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, not the EPA, St. Louis-based Arch argues in a 175-page response to EPA's appeal. The document was filed with the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Tuesday.
When Chemical Security Regulation Fails, Call for More… Regulation?
Cravaack criticizes tougher EPA rules on emissions
The rules, which regulate haze caused in part by the six taconite plants in northeastern Minnesota, impose stricter limits on industrial emissions. But U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack, who is up for re-election this November, said the state's pollution regulations are good enough, and that the EPA's tougher standards represent federal overreach that could cost jobs.
Editorial: Obama's power grab flouts Constitution
In a blatant challenge to the legislative branch, Obama by executive order tossed out the Clinton-era welfare reform that required able-bodied aid recipients to work, saying the federal government will no longer enforce the law.