Attack on Property Rights Restoration Act

By April 15, 2008Energy, Infrastructure

Rule of Washington, D.C., thumb: If legislation carries the term “restoration” in its title, it will inevitably do far more than restore past law. It will rewrite existing statutes to weaken the private sector and expand government. The Fair Pay Restoration Act doesn’t restore “fair pay,” but rather makes it possible to sue and sue and sue employers, ad infinitum.

And the Clean Water Restoration Act federalizes control over most occasionally damp pieces of land in the United States.

On Wednesday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on the water legislation, which needs much attention beyond the agricultural and property rights groups who are particularily exercised about the federal power grab. (Hearing details here and additional background here.)

Supporters sell the legislation as an effort to clarify the Clean Water Act’s authority following several Supreme Court decisions, but in reality, it’s a vast extension of the regulatory state over wet areas. For manufacturers, the concern is that modest remodeling or expansion projects that might once had been worked out with local planners or environmental authorities would fall under additional federal regulatory oversight, with all the attendant costs and delays.

And each regulatory decision becomes another point that NIMBY or environmental groups can use in litigation to block a project. That’s an especially important issue for future infrastructure or energy projects that meet the economy’s needs — and create jobs.

The National Center for Policy Analysis National Center for Public Policy Research has been working diligently on this issue, and today the group issued a news release and study warning sportsmen of the threat: “[The legislation] would do more to threaten the cherished pastimes of hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts than it would to ensure the cleanliness of our nation’s water.” Earlier in the month the the group released a letter signed by 53 separate groups — the NAM included — that highlighted the bill’s failings.

The Senate has aleady held a hearing this month and tomorrow a House committee considers the bill, so it’s wise to be paying attention — this legislation may be moving.

Correction: We confused our National Centers. Apologies to both.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Amy Ridenour says:

    Thanks for mentioning our study on the Clean Water Restoration Act, and the most recent coalition letter we organized about CWRA. We appreciate the coverage, as CWRA is a very important issue that is receiving insufficient attention. We also appreciate the NAM’s willingness to sign the coalition letter. However, we are the National Center for Public Policy Research. The National Center for Policy Analysis is another group entirely.

    Thanks again.

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