The Environmental Protection Agency says it will begin garnishing wages without a court order or hearing of those who have been accused of violating EPA rules.
The agency has published a proposed rule change that would allow it simply to take a portion of an individual’s income in order to collect fines.
The EPA could start garnishingwages on Sept. 2 under the proposed direct final rule on Administrative Wage Garnishment published in The Federal Register on July 2. Proposals by federal agencies do not become official until they are published in the Register.
“The direct final rule will allow the EPA to garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order,” a summary of the rule at the Register’swebsite states.
The summary states that the EPA’s lawyers believe a federal law, the Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA), gives federal agencies the right to garnish wages without judicial review.
Part of Broader Power Grab
The EPA made no announcement about the rule change to the media. Instead, the rule was spotted byWashington Times reporter S.A. Miller. The EPA didn’t respond to Miller’s questions about the direct rule change.
Some Republican senators said the EPA has a history of overstepping its authority.
“While we recognize the government’s legitimate interest in efficiently and effectively pursuing delinquent debt, EPA’s new wage garnishment procedures provide an agency prone to regulatory abuses with even more power over Americans,” U.S. Senator David Vitter (Louisiana) said in a letter also signed by Wyoming Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso. “Individuals who face threats of ruinous fines from the agency may now have to think twice before challenging EPA over its regulatory jurisdiction.”
The EPA has been expanding its regulatory powers in recent months and going after more private individuals. The agency now claims that the Clean Water Act gives it the power to regulate virtually all streams and reservoirs, including irrigation ditches and ponds, on farms and ranches.
In two cases previously reported by Off The Grid News, property owners faced large fines from the EPA for violating the Clean Water Act:
Wyoming resident Andrew Johnson is facing $75,000 a day in fines from the EPA because he built a stock pond on his property without a permit.
West Virginia poultry farmer Lois Alt faced $37,500 in fines because of rainwater draining off of her property. A federal appeals court later ruled the EPA had overstepped its authority and stopped the action.
The EPA has greatly increased the amount of fines it collects in recent years, too, Miller noted. In 2009 the agency collected $96 million in fines but in 2012, $252 million.
How You Can Fight the EPA’s Latest Power Grab ….
Keep in mind that this is an agency that has stood by while CAFO’s (concentrated animal feeding operations), antibiotics and increasingly toxic chemicals and GMO’s have almost completely displaced normal sustainable agriculture in the USA. What’s going to happen is that small farmers are going to be fined out of business for the smallest real or imaginary infractions while industrial monopolies continue their takeover of agriculture and pollute the countryside and our food. This would certainly be in keeping with decades of federal agricultural policies working in tandem with predatory banking practices. There’s a reason local farming has become endangered in this country. To all appearances, it’s in keeping with agenda 21.