EPA Claims Authority To Deny Due Process And Garnish Wages
Oh great and mighty EPA, from whither dost thou get thy perceived Authority?
Written by Joe Wolverton, II, J.D
A few days ago was the 238th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The tenth grievance listed by Thomas Jefferson in the “long train of abuses” committed by king and parliament was:
“He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.”
One of those swarms of bureaucrats is still buzzing has now claimed the authority to seize the substance of Americans without due process of law.
As reported on July 8 by the Washington Times:
The Environmental Protection Agency has quietly floated a rule claiming authority to bypass the courts and unilaterally garnish paychecks of those accused of violating its rules, a power currently used by agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service.
The EPA has been flexing its regulatory muscle under President Obama, collecting more fines each year and hitting individuals with costly penalties for violating environmental rules, including recently slapping a $75,000 fine on Wyoming homeowner Andy Johnson for building a pond on his rural property.
Given recent judicial setbacks suffered by the EPA, it is no wonder they have created a scheme whereby they can collect fines without having to let a judge rule on the legitimacy of the levy.
The Washington Times story reports that the agency “announced the plan last week in a notice in the Federal Register, saying federal law allows it “to garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order.”
Of course, even with the recent legal losses, the EPA continues “eat[ing] out the substance” of Americans accused of harming the environment.
Annual reports filed by the EPA indicated that the coffers are constantly being filled with fines, many of which are enforced not only in violation of the due process requirements protected by the Constitution, but also in violation of the separation of powers set out in that document, wherein the legislative branch is granted exclusive lawmaking authority.
Just how voracious is the EPA’s appetite? The Washington Times reports, “The amount of fines raked in by the agency has jumped from $96 million in 2009 to $252 million in 2012, a more than 160 percent increase.”
This galling power grab is being challenged on several different fronts.