Sen. Paul Introduces Defense of Environment and Property Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sen. Rand Paul today introduced the Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2012 to bring common sense back to federal water policy.
Thousands of property owners across America face aggressive action from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, with no legal means to fight back. Together, the EPA and the Army Corps have become rogue agencies, threatening the Constitutional rights of landowners to do what they please with their own property.
"Environmental protection must be balanced with the fundamental American right to private property. I have spoken with a number of victims of the government's assault on private property, and it is time to rein in the out-of-control government agencies that infringe on these Americans' rights," Sen. Paul said. "It is time to bring common sense to federal water policy, and I do so on behalf of the thousands of property owners across the country who have been met with aggression from the EPA and Army Corps for wetlands issues."
The Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2012 will do the following:
- Redefine "navigable waters" to explicitly clarify that waters must actually be navigable in fact, or "permanent, standing, or continuously flowing bodies of water that form geographical features commonly known as streams, oceans, rivers and lakes that are connected to waters that are navigable-in-fact."
- Excludes ephemeral or intermittent streams - the streams that sometimes form when rain falls - from federal jurisdiction.
- Restrains the EPA and the Army Corps from regulating or "interpreting" the definition of a navigable water without Congressional authorization.
- Protects the rights of states to have primary authority over the land and water within their borders.
- Prohibits federal agents from entering private property without the express consent of the landowner.
- Requires the government to pay double the value of the land to any landowner whose property value is diminished by a wetlands designation.