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Current Events vs. Founding Documents

This column presents facts regarding the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Wisconsin State Constitution, and various other documents in reference to modern topics. Mark hopes to encourage interest in those works so that others can consider whether our government is practicing within its constitutional limits. In the last category, he may indicate his opinion. Mark is a resident of New Berlin. Readers are encouraged to visit the following sites for more information on the United States Constitution and Thomas Jefferson's views on politics and government.

Labor Hurt By EPA Violations

Constitution, executive power, Separation of Powers, environment

Entry 220

 

Current Event

According to FoxNews.com; August 18, 2014

 

Power plant regs spur new union rebellion for Obama administration

The Obama administration is facing another union rebellion over its environmental policies, this time over the EPA’s proposed rules for limiting power plant emissions.

Labor unions for years have hounded the Obama White House over allegations that officials are dragging their feet in making a final decision on the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline.

But labor organizations are now piping up regarding an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 30 percent by 2030. The rules are intended to curb global warming.

Last week, Edwin Hill, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), penned an op-ed claiming the plan would “have a dramatic impact on the American economy but only a minimal effect on global carbon emissions.” 

Hill claimed the EPA plan is a “classic example of federal tunnel vision—focusing on a single goal with little heed for the costs and dangers." He predicted the plan would kill roughly “52,000 permanent direct jobs in utilities, mining and rail and at least another 100,000 jobs in related industries” – losses that would fall particularly hard on rural communities.

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According to FoxNews; July 9, 2014

EPA claims it has the power to garnish wages without court approval

 

The Environmental Protection Agency has quietly claimed that it has the authority to unilaterally garnish the wages of individuals who have been accused of violating its rules. 

 

According to The Washington Times, the agency announced the plan to enhance its purview last week in a notice in the Federal Register. The notice claimed that federal law allows the EPA to "garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order." 

 

 

The EPA has claimed this new authority by citing the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, which gives all federal agencies the power to conduct administrative wage garnishment, provided that the agency allows for hearings at which debtors to challenge the amount or the terms of repayment schedule. 

 

The plan has drawn protests from conservatives, including Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who told The Washington Times, "The EPA has a history of overreaching its authority. It seems like once again the EPA is trying to take power it doesn’t have away from American citizens.”

 

The conservative Heritage Foundation claimed that the rule gives the EPA "unbridled discretion" over the process of challenging fines.  David Addington, group vice president for research at Heritage, told the Times that the rule not only puts the burden of proof on the debtor, rather than the agency, but also allows the EPA to decide whether a debtor even gets a chance to present a defense before picking whomever it chooses to serve as a hearing officer.

 

The amount of money the EPA has collected in fines has increased steadily since President Barack Obama took office. In 2012, the agency took in $252 million in fines, up from just $96 million in 2009. 

 

VS

The Environmental Protection Agency vs The Constitution

 

Founding Document

 Again, there is no liberty if the judiciary power be not separated from the legislative and executive. Were it joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary controul; for the judge would be then the legislator. Were it joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with violence and oppression.” (French philosopher Montesquieu)

 

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” (George Washington)

 

We the People:

 

As government exploits labor under the guise of protecting it, it betrays labor to unconstitutional environmental regulations that kill jobs.  This EPA is extending well beyond executing the laws; it is changing laws, and now it judges so-called violators.  This is not checks and balances. Until it returns to its constitutional limits, Congress should defund the EPA.

 

For US House of Representatives, go to http://www.house.gov/

For US Senate, go to http://www.senate.gov/

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