New EPA Power Grab Will Take Your Breath Away
Cue Irwin M. Fletcher … because some wages are about to be seriously garnished if Barack Obama’s administration gets its way.
The already overreaching U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is attempting to further extend its regulatory authority to include the preemptive garnishing of paychecks of those who allegedly violate its mandates.
And get this: The agency’s new rule, which its bureaucrats claim is not a “significant regulatory action” (and thereby not subject to review), would be implemented without a court order.
The EPA announced the plan last week in a notice in the Federal Register, saying federal law allows it “to garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order.”
The agency cited authority under the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 that centralized federal collection operations under the Treasury Department, which oversees garnishments of wages or tax refund checks.
Under the law, every federal agency has the authority to conduct administrative wage garnishment, provided the agency adopts approved rules for conducting hearings where debtors can challenge the amount of debt or terms of repayment schedule, a Treasury official said.
Still, the rule would give the EPA sweeping authority to dictate how and whether Americans could dispute fines and penalties, even as the amount of EPA fines collected from individuals, businesses and local governments steadily increase.
Critics said the threat of garnishing wages would be a powerful incentive for people to agree to expensive settlements rather than fight EPA charges.
Translation? The EPA can take your money simply by accusing you of violating one of its rules.
Or in its own words, “garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order.”
News of the rule change – which the agency tried to sneak into the Federal Register – was first reported on by The Washington Times. Barring “adverse public comments,” the controversial edict will take effect on September 2.
When Obama took office in 2009, the EPA assessed more than $97 million in fines annually.
By 2012 that total had soared to $252 million – an increase of more than 160 percent.
The EPA has come under fire from limited government advocates for its efforts to administratively impose job-crippling regulations that Congress explicitly refused to impose legislatively.
Earlier this year, Nathan Mehrens of Americans for Limited Government referred to the EPA as “a rogue, unaccountable and extra-legal bureaucracy” guilty of “kowtowing to the overreaching, out-of-control enviro-radical agenda.”
He’s absolutely right … which is why it needs to be done away with.
This is nothing but preemptive theft based on nothing more than an allegation – the sort of suspension of due process that should chill the spine of any American business owner.
We hope U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) – one of the EPA’s most aggressive critics in the U.S. Congress – is all over this latest effort by the agency to unilaterally impose its will on the American free market.”