PLF sees need for president's principles

Monday, September 21, 2020
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

Trump "cuts" red tapeA nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans' liberties when threatened by government overreach and abuse is glad to see the Trump administration moving forward with implementation of a regulatory bill of rights.

Elizabeth Slattery, senior legal fellow at Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), explains that President Trump issued an executive order that laid out the measure.

"In recent weeks, the head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) put out a memo giving guidance to all of the federal agencies on how to take these principles and transform them into actual reforms," Slattery tells OneNewsNow.

Principles laid out by President Trump include:

  • The need for agency decisions to be made by politically accountable officials
  • The requirement for someone wanting more time to investigate possible violations to get approval from an officer accountable to the president
  • Making public the penalties associated with common violations so people can easily know what the fines and fees are associated with different violations
  • Agencies are encouraged to write rules of evidence and procedure that are in plain language
  • Agencies should use good judgement and not impose penalties if an individual has tried in good faith to company with the law

"This seems like common sense, but unfortunately, we've seen the need for this time and again in our litigation at PLF on behalf of Americans who have become ensnared by the regulatory state," Slattery responds.

Slattery

In a recent op-ed for The Hill, Slattery mentions a case involving Andy Johnson of Fort Bridger, Wyoming.

"He was accused of violating the Clean Water Act because he built a pond to water his daughter's horses on his land, and he was threatened with $20 million in fines, and the EPA dragged the investigation out for more than two years," Slattery recalls. "He challenged the agency's actions in court, and it was only then that he learned that the EPA officials did not even bother to investigate whether his pond was actually subject to federal regulation. Instead, they had threatened him with financial ruin after a cursory review of Google Maps, which suggested a connection to a navigable waterway that wasn't actually there."

Once exposed to scrutiny by an independent court, the agency quickly backed down. Johnson was allowed to keep his pond and did not have to pay $20 million in fines.

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