KNIGHT: Bully EPA’s air rules over all

Rogue agency hands over a Wyoming town to Indian tribes

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From promulgating carbon restrictions that Congress never authorized to terrifying landowners, the EPA under President Obama is out of control. On March 21, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court slapped it upside the head, ruling that the agency had abused an Idaho couple who were trying to build a house in a residential development.

Mike and Chantell Sackett, who were not remotely near any navigable waters, “were denied any hearing to contest the Compliance Order by the EPA,” said a brief submitted by the American Civil Rights Union.

“The Sacketts had the choice of bearing the intractable costs of applying for a permit to discharge pollution into the navigable waters of the United States by building their home on a residential lot, as if they were a major industrial enterprise actually engaged in real pollution.”

The court agreed, giving the Sacketts an opportunity to further litigate.

In Wyoming, lawyers for the two tribes wrote to the EPA to accuse state officials of — what else? — racism. Contending that the state’s petition is flawed, the lawyers declared that it “manufactures mythical consequences for local communities that appear to be designed to inflame racial division and conflict.”

Really. What about the impact of seizing an entire town and placing it in an Indian reservation? Might that cause a bit of a quarrel? What would John Wayne do?

The state petition, with a barely restrained tone of exasperation, quotes the original 1905 congressional act, another in 1953, and several letters, some written by the tribes, that have “unambiguous language” binding all parties to reducing the size of the reservation in exchange for cash payments.

Last Thursday, it was minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit at high noon in Riverton, which might be one reason there are so few people there compared with Washington, D.C.

The nation’s capital has comparatively lousy air quality, worsened perhaps by fumes emanating from the vents at the EPA’s overheated headquarters.

Robert Knight is a senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a contributor to The Washington Times.

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