Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Adminstrative State - The EPA sending us to jail

We are seeing our government become out of touch and responsible for nothing. The elected officials give power to the bureaucracy, but don’t hold it responsible when it is ineffective or causes harm.

Scott Johnson of PowerLine Blog reviewed a book on this - Is Administrative Law Unconstitutional? by Prof. Philip Hamburger in National Review in 2014.
… The practice of rule by decree is of dubious constitutionality, to say the least, and Obama is extending it to the breaking point. While of dubious constitutionality, the practice is not without precedent. The precedent, however, is the prerogative power claimed in the past by the British king. It is the power against which the British revolted in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and against which we revolted in 1776. 
Now comes Professor Philip Hamburger with a serious work of legal scholarship on the return of the prerogative power to our government. The power returns in the dry-as-dust form of “administrative law,” reflecting the agency form of government. Administrative law has not been a matter of substantial intellectual controversy for a long time. Professor Hamburger comes not to bring peace, but rather a sword of understanding and ultimately of action. He means for us to understand what we have lost or are losing. ...
Johnson briefly revisits it this week at PowerLine.

An in-your-face example. This summer the EPA caused the horrible toxic spill in the XYZ river near Durango, Colorado, affecting New Mexico and Utah also. See Daily Caller. Did any individual lose his/her job over it? No. But the EPA is sending people like you and me to jail - to jail - over much smaller violations. 185 people in 2015 for an average sentence of eight months. Daily Caller
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforcers helped convict 185 Americans of environmental crimes this year, with each of these eco-convicts getting sentenced to eight months in prison on average for crimes ranging from biofuel fraud to illegally removing asbestos. 
EPA enforcement data for 2015 shows the agency opened 213 environmental cases which resulted in 185 people convicted and sentenced to 129 years in prison. EPA has been opening fewer cases in recent years to focus more on “high impact” cases. 
...Every year, EPA agents help put dozens of Americans in prison for breaking U.S. environmental laws. Environmental crimes range from spilling coal ash into public waterways, to pretending to produce biofuels, to illegally cleaning up asbestos in buildings.