Court faults EPA’s rejection of Texas’ Flexible Permits program

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Why don’t our Tennessee legislators and AG do this type thing as well instead of caving in to the EPA. This ruling is a victory for Texas jobs and confirms what we’ve said from the start – that the EPA’s actions were baseless and nothing more than a federal power grab by an administration that is desperate to extend its control over businesses, with no regard for the consequences of their actions.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency’s disapproval of Texas’ Flexible Permits program was not supported by the Clean Air Act.

Under the Flexible Permits program, which had been in place since 1994, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality put a cap on allowed emissions from oil refineries and other industrial plants by facility. EPA officials announced in 2010 that they disapproved of the program because it might allow major polluters to exceed federal standards, record-keeping was inadequate and the methodology for calculating the emissions cap was unclear. As a result, those flexible permits were no longer accepted under the Clean Air Act. The facilities that already possessed flexible permits were subject to federal fines.

In the opinion, the court called the EPA’s disapproval of Texas’ program “untimely” and said it “unraveled approximately 140 permits” issued under the program. The court said the EPA’s reasoning was mainly based on wording, and not actual standards or procedures.

“A state’s ‘broad responsibility regarding the means’ to achieve better air quality would be hollow indeed if the state were not even responsible for its own sentence structure,” the court says in the opinion.

The opinion says the EPA must further consider the program.

The TCEQ praised the decision, calling it a “victory for Texas, our environment and our economy.”

“The court recognized the important principles that the EPA must comply with the cooperative federalism envisioned by the federal Clean Air Act and its own administrative procedures in order to bring certainty to the states and regulated communities,” said Terry Clawson, a TCEQ spokesman.

A request for comment was not immediately returned by the EPA.

The Texas Oil and Gas Association and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott also voiced support for the decision.

Read more

The Dictator Wants to Bypass Congress – The People Cheer

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Wake up Folks!!!

Believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting.
-President Barack Obama

Glenn Beck assembles a video montage that includes President Obama making reference (on numerous occasions) to bypassing Congress in order to push forward with his agenda. Rather than outrage  over the President’s desire to ignore his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, the masses cheer.

Beck on GBTV:

This is the way a republic ends.

…The problem is not Obama. The problem is the American people. Because, if they fall for it this time they’ll fall for somebody worse next time. It’s the American people.

EPA to property owner: ‘Your land is our land’

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This story is unbelievable, but it’s true……we have an over reaching executive branch. If we don’t watch out folks, the office of President is going to turn into the Office of America’s first Dictator, through Executive Orders…..

Just imagine. You want to build a home, so you buy a $23,000 piece of land in a residential subdivision in your hometown and get started. The government then tells you to stop, threatens you with $40 million in fines and is not kidding.

That’s the case now before the U.S. Supreme Court, with briefs being filed today by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of a Priest Lake, Idaho, family, Chantell and Mike Sackett.

Attorney Damien Schiff, who will be arguing before the high court in the case, said it’s simply a case of a government run amok, and it poses a potential threat to perhaps not every landowner across the nation, but untold millions.

The Sacketts, Schiff said, “bought property, and the government in effect has ordered them to treat the property like a public park.”

“The EPA has not paid them a dime for that privilege,” he said. “The regime we have operating now allows the EPA to take property without having to pay for it, or giving the owners the right to their day in court.””

The Sacketts, Schiff said, “bought property, and the government in effect has ordered them to treat the property like a public park.”

“The EPA has not paid them a dime for that privilege,” he said. “The regime we have operating now allows the EPA to take property without having to pay for it, or giving the owners the right to their day in court.””

The Sacketts, Schiff said, “bought property, and the government in effect has ordered them to treat the property like a public park.””The EPA has not paid them a dime for that privilege,” he said. “The regime we have operating now allows the EPA to take property without having to pay for it, or giving the owners the right to their day in court.””

The regulations, the brief contends, had been defined so broadly by the EPA that they have pertained to “land that appears to be totally dry.”

“If the EPA has completed an analysis and made a determination that the property contains jurisdictional ‘wetlands,’ the citizen has no right to judicial review of that analysis. If the citizen hires professionals to conduct a ‘wetlands’ determination, EPA is not obligated to accept it. Despite any evidence, professional opinions, or agency advice the citizen obtains, EPA may still impose sanctions by a compliance order if it has ‘any information’ that” it wants to use to call it wetlands, the brief explains.

Further, the “compliance order” also demands that the private property owners give the EPA full access not only to the lands but to their private records about what is done to the land.

“Given that the order is not based on probable cause, it withdraws the Sacketts’ constitutional right to be free of unreasonable searches by requiring them to grant access to ‘all records and documentation related to the conditions at the site and th restoration activities conducted pursuant to this order.'”

The EPA ordered the planting of specific trees and shrubs and then demanded that the land “be fenced for the first three growing seasons.”

“Monitoring of vegetation on the restored site for survival and ground coverage shall be performed in October 2008, June 2009, October 2009, and October 2010,” it ordered.

Entire article @ Worldnet Daily

EPA declares hay a pollutant in effort to drive small, mid-sized family cattle ranchers out of business

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You just couldn’t make this stuff up….No, this is not a joke….wish it was………

The assault against American industry and individual livelihood continues — and no, it is not coming from Al-Qaeda or other foreign terrorists. A recent report from R-CALF USA, an advocacy group for American cattle producers, says the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared harmless cattle hay a “pollutant,” which is part of the agency’s agenda to squelch family-scale cattle ranches in favor of corporately-owned, mega-sized feedlot operations.

At the recent 12th Annual R-CALF USA Convention in Rapid City, SD, an audience member asked Mike Callicrate, a Kansas cattle feeder, if the EPA had, indeed, declared hay a pollutant. His affirmative answer was startling to many, but not necessarily surprising in light of the US government’s apparent agenda to destroy every single producing sector in the nation and to reduce the country to a poverty-stricken, corporately-dominated wasteland.
Hay Bales

“Now that EPA has declared hay a pollutant, every farmer and rancher that stores hay, or that leaves a broken hay bale in the field, is potentially violating EPA rules and subject to an EPA enforcement action,” responded Callicrate. “How far are we going to let this agency go before we stand up and do something about it?”

“EPA is turning a blind eye toward the mega-feedlots that are a real risk for pollution and, instead, is antagonizing small to mid-sized family operations in an effort to help their packer-partners capture the entire live cattle supply chain away from family farm and ranch operations.”

Sources for this story include:

http://r-calfusa.com/news_releases/…

Read more @ Natural News

Constitutional Powers the States have, and the Feds do not

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Here’s something for the readers that would like to learn more about the Constitution, State’s Rights and the Federal Government’s powers granted to them in the Constitution.

The Constitution enumerates the power of the federal government—but are there authoritative lists of those powers reserved to the states with which the federal government may not interfere?

Yes—many.

During the period 1787-1790, while the public was debating whether to adopt the Constitution, the document’s opponents (“Anti-Federalists”) argued that the Constitution would grant the federal government powers so broad that there would be little left for the states.

Supporters of the Constitution responded that, actually, the powers granted the federal government were “few and defined” (Madison), but the states would retain exclusively all other prerogatives of government.  Some added that the states’ sphere was so vast, that enumeration of all exclusive state powers was impossible.

Nevertheless, Anti-Federalists continued to insist on knowing the sorts of things that federal officials would not be able to touch.  In response, leading spokesmen for the Constitution began to list such items.

Although some of those spokesmen simply provided a few examples, others offered considerable lists.  The lists complemented rather than contradicted each other.  Some of the longest lists came from the pen of Tench Coxe, a Philadelphia businessman who had served in the Confederation Congress and, in subsequent years, was to become the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.

Coxe is little-known today, but his essays were among the most  influential with the general public, if not the most influential, of all the pro-Constitution writers.  His writings were not as extensive as, say, Hamilton, Madison & Jay’s Federalist, but they were much easier to read and may have been more widely distributed.  His representations, and similar ones from other pro-Constitution writers, were central to the entire constitutional bargain.

Coxe wrote under several pen names.  The excerpts below from two of his “Freeman” essays illustrate the powers constitutionally denied to the federal government.

For more complete treatment of this subject, see my article, The Enumerated Powers of States.  (Since writing that article, I’ve found even more Founding-Era enumerations.)

Here are Coxe’s lists:

From Freeman No. 1:
“It will be found, on a careful examination, that many things, which are indispensibly necessary to the existence and good order of society, cannot be performed by the fœderal government, but will require the agency and powers of the state legislatures or sovereignties, with their various appurtenances and appendages.

“1st. Congress, under all the powers of the proposed constitution, can neither train the militia, nor appoint the officers thereof.

“2dly. They cannot fix the qualifications of electors of representatives, or of the electors of the electors of the President or Vice-President.

“3dly. In case of a vacancy in the senate or the house of representatives, they cannot issue a writ for a new election, nor take any of the measures necessary to obtain one.

“4thly. They cannot appoint a judge, constitute a court, or in any other way interfere in determining offences against the criminal law of the states, nor can they in any way interfere in the determinations of civil causes between citizens of the same state, which will be innumerable and highly important.

“5thly. They cannot elect a President, a Vice-President, a Senator, or a fœderal representative, without all of which their own government must remain suspended, and universal Anarchy must ensue.

“6thly. They cannot determine the place of chusing senators, because that would be derogatory to the sovereignty of the state legislatures, who are to elect them.

“7thly. They cannot enact laws for the inspection of the produce of the country, a matter of the utmost importance to the commerce of the several states, and the honor of the whole.

“8thly. They cannot appoint or commission any state officer, legislative, executive or judicial.

“9thly. They cannot interfere with the opening of rivers and canals; the making or regulation of roads, except post roads; building bridges; erecting ferries; establishment of state seminaries of learning; libraries; literary, religious, trading or manufacturing societies; erecting or regulating the police of cities, towns or boroughs; creating new state offices; building light houses, public wharves, county gaols, markets, or other public buildings; making sale of state lands, and other state property; receiving or appropriating the incomes of state buildings and property; executing the state laws; altering the criminal law; nor can they do any other matter or thing appertaining to the internal affairs of any state, whether legislative, executive or judicial, civil or ecclesiastical.

“10thly. They cannot interfere with, alter or amend the constitution of any state, which, it is admitted, now is, and, from time to time, will be more or less necessary in most of them.”

From Freeman No. 2:

“First, then, each state can appoint every officer of its own militia, and can train the same, by which it will be sure of a powerful military support attached to, and even part of itself, wherein no citizen of any other state can be a private centinel, much less have influence or command.

“2dly. Every regulation relating to religion, or the property of religious bodies, must be made by the state governments, since no powers affecting those points are contained in the constitution.

“3dly. The state legislatures and constitutions must determine the qualifications of the electors for both branches of the fœderal government; and here let us remember to adhere firmly within our respective commonwealths to genuine republican principles. Wisdom, on this point which lies entirely in our hands, will pervade the whole system, and will be a never failing antidote to aristocracy, oligarchy and monarchy.

“4thly. Regulating the law of descents [inheritance], and forbidding the entail of landed estates, are exclusively in the power of the state legislatures. . . .

“5thly. The elections of the President, Vice President, Senators and Representatives, are exclusively in the hands of the states, even as to filling vacancies. The smallest interference of Congress is not permitted, either in prescribing the qualifications of electors, or in determining what persons may or may not be elected.

“The clause which enables the fœderal legislature to make regulations on this head, permits them only to say at what time in the two years the house of representatives shall be chosen, at what time in the six years the Senate shall be chosen, and at what time in the four years the President shall be elected; but these elections, by other provisions in the constitution, must take place every two, four and six years, as is declared in the several cases respectively.

“6thly. The states elect, appoint and commission all their own officers, without any possible interference of the fœderal government.

“7thly. The states can alter and amend their several constitutions, provided they do not make them aristocratical, oligarchic or monarchical—for the fœderal constitution restrains them from any alterations that are not really republican. That is, the sovereignty of the people is never to be infringed or destroyed.

“8thly. The states have the power to erect corporations for literary, religious, commercial, or other purposes, which the fœderal government cannot prevent.

“9thly. Every state can always give its dissent to fœderal bills, as each has a vote in the Senate secured by the constitution. Hence it appears, that the state governments are not only intended to remain in force within their respective jurisdictions, but they are always to be known to, and have their voices, as states, in the fœderal councils.

“10thly. The states not only elect all their own officers, but they have a check, by their delegates to the Senate, on the appointment of all fœderal officers.

“11thly. The states are to hold separate territorial rights, and the domestic jurisdiction thereof, exclusively of any interference of the fœderal government.

“12thly. The states will regulate and administer the criminal law, exclusively of Congress, so far as it regards mala in se, or real crimes; such as murder, robbery, &c. They will also have a certain and large part of the jurisdiction, with respect to mala prohibita, or matters which are forbidden from political considerations, though not in themselves immoral; such as unlicenced public houses, nuisances, and many other things of the like nature.

“13thly. The states are to determine all the innumerable disputes about property lying within their respective territories between their own citizens, such as titles and boundaries of lands, debts by assumption, note, bond, or account, mercantile contracts, &c. none of which can ever be cognizable by any department of the fœderal government.

“14thly. The several states can create corporations civil and religious; prohibit or impose duties on the importation of slaves into their own ports; establish seminaries of learning; erect boroughs, cities and counties; promote and establish manufactures; open roads; clear rivers; cut canals; regulate descents and marriages; licence taverns; alter the criminal law; constitute new courts and offices; establish ferries; erect public buildings; sell, lease and appropriate the proceeds and rents of their lands, and of every other species of state property; establish poor houses, hospitals, and houses of employment; regulate the police; and many other things of the utmost importance to the happiness of their respective citizens. In short, besides the particulars enumerated, every thing of a domestic nature must or can be done by them.

“In addition to this enumeration of the powers and duties of the state governments, we shall find many other instances under the constitution, which require or imply the existence or continuance of the sovereignty and severalty of the states.—The following are some of them:—

“All process against criminals and many other law proceedings will be brought by and run in the name of that commonwealth, in which the offence or event has taken place.

“The senate will be representatives of the several state sovereignties.

“Every state must send its own citizens to the senate and to the house of representatives. No man can go thither, but from the state of which he is a complete citizen, and to which, if they choose, he shall be sworn to be faithful.

“No state shall on any pretence be without an equal voice in the senate.

“Any state may repel invasions or commence a war under emergent circumstances, without waiting for the consent of Congress.

“The electors of the President and Vice-President must not nominate more than one person of the state to which they belong: so careful is the fœderal constitution to preserve the rights of the states.

“In case of an equality of votes in the election of the President or Vice-President, a casting voice is given to the states from a due attention to their sovereignty in appointing the ostensible head of the fœderal government.

….

“Two thirds of the states in the proposed confederacy can call a convention.

“Three fourths of those states can alter the constitution.

“From this examination of the proposed constitution for the United States, I trust it will appear, that though there are some parts of it, which, taken separately, look a little like consolidation, yet there are very many others of a nature, which proves, that no such thing was intended, and that it cannot ever take place.”

In private life, Rob Natelson is a long-time conservative/free market activist, but professionally he is a constitutional scholar whose meticulous studies of the Constitution’s original meaning have been published or cited by many top law journals. (See http://constitution.i2i.org/about/.) Most recently, he co-authored The Origins of the Necessary and Proper Clause (Cambridge University Press) and The Original Constitution (Tenth Amendment Center). After a quarter of a century as Professor of Law at the University of Montana, he recently retired to work full time at Colorado’s Independence Institute. Visit his blog there at http://constitution.i2i.org/

 

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We’re Enabling a Future American Dictator

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As crazy as this may sound to some, Ron Paul is correct. With Congress and the Senate poised to give the President sole authority to go to war anywhere in the world when he wants to without their approval. Among other things the executive branch has been doing skirting the Constitution Ron Paul is right.

These are truly troubling days for liberty in the United States.

Last week the 60 day deadline for the president to gain congressional approval for our military engagement in Libya under the War Powers Resolution came and went. The media scarcely noticed.  The bombings continued.  We had a hearing on Capitol Hill on the subject, but the administration refuses to bother with the legality of its new war.  It is unclear if Mr. Obama will ever obtain congressional consent, and astonishingly it is being argued that he doesn’t need it.

Ron Paul: We Are Enabling A Future American Dictatorship 310511RP2

Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution begs to differ.  It clearly states that the power to declare war rests within the legislative branch – the branch closest to the people.  The founders were a war-weary people, and the requirement that it would take an act of Congress to go to war was intentional.  They believed war was not to be entered into lightly, so they resisted granting such decision making authority to one person. They objected to absolute warmaking power granted to Kings. It would be incredibly naïve to think a dictator could not or would not wrest power in this country. 

Our Presidents can now, on their own: order assassinations, including American citizens; operate secret military tribunals; engage in torture; enforce indefinite imprisonment without due process; order searches and seizures without proper warrants, gutting the 4th Amendment; ignore the 60 day rule for reporting to the Congress the nature of any military operations as required by the War Power Resolution; continue the Patriot Act abuses without oversight; wage war at will; and treat all Americans as suspected terrorists at airports with TSA groping and nude x-rays.

Americans who are not alarmed by all of this are either not paying close attention, or are too trusting of current government officials to be concerned.  Those in power right now might be trustworthy, upstanding people.  But what of the leaders of the future?  They will inherit all the additional powers we cede to the current position holders.  Can we trust that they will not take advantage?  Today’s best intentions create loopholes and opportunities for tomorrow’s tyrants.

Perhaps the most troubling power grab of late is the mission creep associated with the 9/11 attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Initiated as targeted strikes against the perpetrators of 9/11, a decade later we are still at war.  With whom?  Last week Congress passed a Defense Authorization bill with some very disturbing language that explicitly extends the president’s war powers to just about anybody.  Section 1034 of that bill states that we are at war with the Taliban, al Qaeda, and associated forces.  Who are the associated forces?  It also includes anyone who has supported hostilities in aid of an organization that substantially supports these associated forces.  This authorization is not limited by geography, and it has no sunset provision.  It doesn’t matter if these associated forces are American citizens.  Your constitutional rights no longer apply when the United States is “at war” with you.  Would it be so hard for someone in the government to target a political enemy and connect them to al Qaeda, however tenuously, and have them declared an associated force?

My colleague Congressman Justin Amash spearheaded an effort to have this troubling language removed, but unfortunately it failed by a vote of 234 to 187.  It is unfortunate indeed, that so many in Congress accept unlimited warmaking authority in the hands of the executive branch.

Paul.House.gov

Some comments below at his website:

Thank you, Congressman Paul, for being a true leader for the American people. Regardless of our citizens’ lackadaisical approach to very real threats, those of us who are awake are with you and appreciate your never-ending and determined support of our freedom and the Constitution!

We have no reason to continue with wars, although many get rich from wars. We in the United States are oppressed by our own government over a simple thing as healthcare. Our entire government needs to be replaced by people of vision like our forfathers intended. We have lost faith in our government, Republican leaders want social security to go away because they can’t afford it. That would be murdering our own people, you have given America a bad name & we remember yours. I’m for Recall of all that wants war & removing our healthcare. Beware of those that vote you in will vote out also. Understand the point.

Tomorrows tirants don’t feel that far away to me.
Thank you Ron Paul for giving warning to people. I hope they listen

Obama, Not Egypt, is Biggest Threat to U.S. Energy Prices

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This is an interesting article, that goes on to explain that President Obama’s policies are more of a threat to rising US energy prices than the Middle East. Of course that’s no surprise to those of us watching Obama’s policies, like putting a moratorium on deep sea drilling when the experts said that wasn’t needed and would hurt the US economy.

Obama, Not Egypt, is Biggest Threat to U.S. Energy Prices

Last Friday on a conference call with reporters about the Obama Administration’s long-term energy proposals, Energy Secretary Steven Chu responded to a question about the situation in Egypt, saying: “Certainly any disruption in the Middle East means a partial disruption in the oil we import. It’s a world market and [a disruption] could actually have real harm of the price. The best way America can protect itself against these incidents is to decrease our dependency on foreign oil, in fact to diversify our supply.” This is a nice sentiment. Unfortunately, everything the Obama Administration is doing is only increasing our dependence on foreign sources of oil.

Secretary Chu is right: Oil does sell on a world market. But transportation and other distribution factors do segment oil markets somewhat. In fact, the United States is currently paying about $10 less for a barrel of oil than European and Asian nations are. Why? Because of U.S. access to oil refined from Canadian oil sands. Access to these vast natural resources is a great diversification of our oil supply. But now the Obama Administration is trying to make it harder for American consumers to get Canadian oil. The Obama Environmental Protection Agency is stonewalling approval for the Keystone pipeline, which would increase the amount of oil the U.S. receives from Canada by over a million barrels per day. And that is not the only oil the Obama Administration is trying to keep out of American consumers’ hands.

Offshore, the Obama Interior Department has blocked access to 19 billion barrels of oil in the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and the eastern Gulf of Mexico—and another 10 billion barrels estimated in the Chukchi Sea off the Alaskan coast. Onshore, federal leasing of oil and gas exploration in the western United States has dropped significantly in the past two years. According to data compiled by the Western Energy Alliance, the Bureau of Land Management offered 79 percent fewer leases for oil and natural gas development in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming in 2010 than in 2005. And then there is the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, where an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil lie beneath a few thousand acres that can be accessed with minimal environmental impact.

Allowing Americans to develop these resources could easily produce at least 1 million new barrels of oil a day. The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis estimates that, if the United States managed to increase its domestic oil production by 1 million barrels a day, it would create an additional 128,000 jobs and generate $7.7 billion in economic activity.

As bad as these existing energy policies are, President Obama’s planned energy policies are even worse. Today, the President is meeting with Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D–NM) to plot passage of a clean energy standard (CES) bill. CES is just another cap-and-trade, energy-tax-like policy, except it’s all cap and no trade. A CES would mandate that all electricity providers generate a certain percentage of energy from carbon-free sources. Just like cap and trade, this policy is fundamentally just an energy tax that would drive up everyone’s electricity prices. Ironically, this would make electric vehicles even more expensive to operate, but we’re sure the Obama Administration would offer another round of taxpayer-funded subsidies to fix that problem.

Government policies that ban economically feasible energy development while subsidizing economically unsustainable ones only raise energy costs rather than lowering them. What the U.S. economy really needs is a truly free-market energy approach, one that includes (1) real nuclear energy reform, not more loan guarantees; (2) predictable and sensible coal regulations; (3) reduced regulation on renewable energy; (4) an end to all energy subsidies; and (5) common-sense limits to environmental litigation.

Congress should not let unrest in the Middle East scare them into energy policies that would make all our energy only more expensive. More bans on energy development, more subsidies for economically unproven technologies, and expensive new alternative energy production mandates are not the answer. America needs a true free-market approach to energy, and we need it now.

blog.heritage.com

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