Friday, February 17, 2006

Critical Supreme Court wetlands hearing on Tuesday

Did real-estate developer John Rapanos have a right to fill in a 175-acre wetland parcel that empties into Lake Huron in order to build a shopping center?

Did the government have a right to prosecute him after he ignored cease-and-desist orders?


"If they want to take my land and make it a frog pond or whatever they want, fine — just pay me for it. Otherwise you're taking private property without compensation, which is unconstitutional."

To which I would reply, should my neighbors allow me to open a rendering plant on my property? Do they have a right to object? If citizens circumscribe my right to do anything I want with my land, have my rights been violated? Should I be compensated by the government, i.e., other taxpaying citizens for my losses? Are we going to allow property holders to truly do whatever they want to with their property?

How would the word property even be defined absent a legal system created and defended by the people?

What about the rights of others to enjoy clean water resources? What about the rights of future generations? Should destructive owners be required to compensate them for damages?

The right of the Corps of Engineers to regulate wetlands activities on private land is critical for Louisiana. We've learned the hard way what millions of incremental changes can do to the overall well being of an entire ecosystem.

The Supreme Court will decide on Tuesday.

If the Supreme Court decides that the Corps of Engineers doesn't have the right to regulate wetlands under the 1972 Clean Water Act, then Congress needs to pass new legislation to definitively create regulating authority.

More in PGR on this topic here.


At 2/17/2006 11:49:00 PM, Blogger bayoustjohndavid said...

The quote from the landowner sounded like it could have from a right wing takings theorist, then I saw that he was represented by the Pacific Legal foundation.

If your interested in that sort of thing (and want to give yourself cause for concern) go The Nation's website and search property rights. The Greider article is worth reading.


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