Government Forces a Citizen to Turn a Lake Into a Dump

Katie Pavlich

3/27/2013 11:36:00 AM - Katie Pavlich

Senator Ron Johnson's office has produced a video telling the story of a man, Steve Lathrop, whose life was ruined by the federal government for privately solving a community flooding problem after going through the proper permitting processes. Johnson produced the video in a effort to not only tell Lathrop's story, but to point out the massive amount of red tape costing taxpayers billions over decades while problems remain unsolved.

"This is a story about how federal bureaucracy cost one man everything."

The root cause of our economic and fiscal problems is the size, the scope, and the cost of government - all the rules, all the regulations, and all the government intrusion into our lives. Over-regulation consumes massive amounts of the people’s money, too often lacks common sense, has no heart, costs jobs and economic growth. Stephen Lathrop has spent 23 years mired in bureaucratic red tape, been shuttled between agencies, and been the victim of government miscommunication and inefficiency. You can raise awareness about over-regulation and encourage oversight by sharing Steve's story. You can also share your own experiences with the federal bureaucracy on this site.

The good news is, just a year ago the Supreme Court sided with private property owners in Idaho over the EPA in a similar case.

The Supreme Court has come forcefully down on the side of an Idaho couple in its fight against the Environmental Protection Agency, unanimously ruling Wednesday that the couple can challenge an EPA order to stop construction of their home on property designated a wetland.

Mike and Chantell Sackett bought their land near a scenic lake for $25,000, but when they decided to build a property there in 2007, the EPA ordered a halt, saying the Clean Water Act requires that wetlands not be disturbed without a permit.

They've been fighting for the right to challenge the decision in court for several years, and facing millions of dollars in fines over the land.

The couple complained there was no reasonable way to challenge the order, and noted they don't know why the EPA concluded there are wetlands on their lot, which is surrounded by a residential neighborhood with sewer lines and homes.

In an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court ruled the EPA cannot impose fines that could be as much as $75,000 a day without giving property owners the ability to challenge its actions.