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Two sets of rules: One for government, one for governed

Article I of the U.S. Constitution vests legislative power solely in Congress. The framers never intended to empower Congress to delegate it’s law-making authority to executive branch agencies (see https://www.gradesaver.com/the-federalist-papers/study-guide/summary-essay-47).

Federal Court rulings have blurred the separation-of-powers doctrine. These agencies, full of unelected and unaccountable persons, have gained enormous power. Bureaucrats who commit wrongdoing are almost never punished. Individual citizens who run afoul of agency regulations are less fortunate.

In 2015 the EPA hired a contractor to poke at a mine plug. It blew out. Millions of gallons of toxic waste spewed into the Animas River. The EPA claimed sovereign immunity and refused to pay for damages (see https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gold-king-mine-spill-colorado-rivers-epa-claims/).

In the same year, the Flint, Mich. disaster occurred — lead-polluted drinking water permanently injured hundreds of children. That the city of Flint and the state of Michigan failed to quickly respond to this emergency is an understatement. The EPA, which oversees all potable water facilities in the USA, did the same thing. In October 2016, the EPA’s inspector general concluded that the EPA had wrongfully delayed its response (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gina_McCarthy).

One Gina McCarthy, a rabid environmentalist, a political hack, and a hired gun of President Barack Obama, was the current EPA commissioner. While the EPA Region 5 administrator resigned over what happened in Flint, McCarthy took no responsibility for the Animas River and Flint disasters.

The EPA has bullied citizens for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act when these people were simply exercising their property ownership rights (see https://nypost.com/2012/03/22/supremes-sackett-to-epa-bullies/).

In 2015 McCarthy finalized a rule under the Clean Water Act which proposed a new detailed and inclusive definition of “waters of the United States.” Thirteen states sued and a federal judge issued an injunction blocking the regulation in those states (Ibid, Wikipedia).

Joseph Robertson, an old and disabled veteran, was arrested, fined and imprisoned for digging a number of collection ponds on his property and on U.S. Forest Service land (see https://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/despite-federal-conviction–year-old-draws-sympathy-in-fight/article–8b0f9269-03f6-5139-a40c-f3f2e868b063.html). Did the punishment fit the crime? I don’t think so.

Should Roberston have forcefully resisted arrest putting himself and others in harm’s way? You decide. As it was, Mr. Robertson did not resist and died several months after he was released from federal prison. R.I.P.

A two-tiered justice system that favors the government at the expense of the governed is one to be reviled and not revered.

CHARLES F. HEIMERDINGER

Edinburg