Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Thursday, October 17, 2019

All Andy Johnson wanted to do was build a pond. Andy, a welder, and his wife, Katie, have four girls and a small farm in Wyoming, and they needed a place for their horses and cattle to drink and graze. Working with state engineers, Andy and Katie spent hours, as well as most of their savings, constructing the pond, filling it with filtered water, providing a habitat for trout, ducks, herons, moose and bald eagles. Approximately two years later, the project came to a screeching halt when bureaucrats from the Environmental Protection Agency knocked on Johnson's door, informing him that, by building a pond on his own property without their permission, he had violated the Clean Water Act. And so began a years-long back and forth between Johnson and the EPA, with Johnson presenting documentation from the state showing that his stock pond was exempt from the Clean Water Act and studies that showed his pond provided positive environmental benefits. The EPA said otherwise...

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FTA:

All of these cases share a common feature: They arose from unelected bureaucrats making completely selective decisions about how a law should be interpreted and enforced, without the oversight or input of Congress or the public.

In bureaucrat-speak, these decisions are often referred to as "guidance documents" or "advisory opinions" and represent an agency's way of "interpreting" regulations and statutes.

But unlike formal regulations, guidance documents simply arise from an agency's whim. There is no transparent process with statutory requirements for ample legal justifications, cost benefit analysis and a process for public comment and assessment.

Rather, agency bureaucrats simply decide that a policy will exist, and then will it to life. They are then free to enforce it on unsuspecting Americans, who often have little clue that such a document or policy even exists.


Government by memo was the hallmark of the Obama administration. Whilst I'm glad Trump issued a couple of EO's to derail this abusive process, the next POTUS could undo it and almost certainly will.

We either need new legislation or we need to get a case or three of regulatory over-reach to SCOTUS. Chevron was horribly adjudicated and it's about time for it to be undone.

#1 | Posted by JeffJ at 2019-10-17 05:10 PM | Reply

There's a good movie along the same lines.

Still Mine (2012) - IMDb
https://www.imdb.com title
Rating: 7.4/10 - 3,744 votes
Directed by Michael McGowan. With James Cromwell, Ronan Rees, Genevive Bujold, Campbell Scott. An elderly couple fight against local authorities in rural ..

#2 | Posted by nullifidian at 2019-10-17 05:17 PM | Reply

You really should educate yourself

www.epa.gov

Without Guidance Documents or Advisory Opinions, the regulated community would not have an understanding of how a law would be applied. The regulatory entity is in place to enforce the law and since they are enforcing what is in effect a very complex action, it takes interpretation of the law. Without Guidance Documents, the regulated community would not know what to expect when the regulating agency is involved (as the should be) as required by the law. Without Advisory Opinions, the regulated community would not know what to expect on how the law would be interpreted.

Without GD and AO, each interaction with the regulating agency would be a far, far more complex activity as each step of the process would have to determined, agreed upon by regulated and regulator and enacted. As opposed to the regulated community having GD and AO on what to expect with the proposed interaction.

I deal with this on a day to day basis. NJ passed a law that I am licensed under. The state agency establishes GD on the enactment of the law. GD, which BTW, get a great deal of public input and are created by a variety of stakeholders. This is the same process the feds go through. I use the GD to serve the regulated community. Without the GD I would not know, nor would the regulated community know, on what to expect or HOW to satisfy the laws. Without GD, you would have the law it all its legalese that will be open to a wide variety of opinions, which will result in court action being the norm for any regulatory decision, a wholely unworkable solution.

Your opinion Jeff is wholely uninformed.

#3 | Posted by truthhurts at 2019-10-17 05:30 PM | Reply

Your opinion Jeff is wholely uninformed.

#3 | POSTED BY TRUTHHURT

No, it isn't.

I watched the Obama administration turn college campuses into kangaroo courts for adjudicating sexual assault allegations with on of these "guidance" letters.

#4 | Posted by JeffJ at 2019-10-17 05:36 PM | Reply

"turn college campuses into kangaroo courts"

There's actually very little specific guidance in the Dear Colleague letter: obamawhitehouse.archives.gov

And there's still real courts that people who think they were wronged can sue and win in.

Regardless, DeVos's cure is worse than the disease: www.newyorker.com

The most objectionable changes seem the most technical, but the harm could be profound. One is a new definition for what constitutes a "hostile environment." The standard legal formula, from the Supreme Court case of Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, from 1986, defines it as unwelcome "conduct of a sexual nature" that is "sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions" of the opportunity at stake. DeVos would replace "severe or pervasive" with "severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive." But a rape could be severe but not pervasive. And a compliment of one's appearance isn't necessarily severe or objectively offensive but may be pervasive, if repeated enough times, and certainly could create a hostile environment. DeVos is responding to the valid concern that increasingly expansive definitions of sexual harassment can easily lead to absurd and unfair results. But her attempt to establish a narrow definition overshoots the mark, if the goal is to insure access to education free of sexual harassment.

#5 | Posted by snoofy at 2019-10-17 05:49 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

And there's still real courts that people who think they were wronged can sue and win in.

It's amazing how many have successfully sued since the Obama administration 'dear colleague' letter. Nevertheless, getting kicked out of school and having a 20-year old's life upended over a baseless accusation is a very difficult thing to endure.

The New Yorker paragraph doesn't address the issue of due process.

#6 | Posted by JeffJ at 2019-10-17 06:16 PM | Reply

"I watched"
When jeffy says he "watched" something, what he really means is he read about it on internet at the national review

#7 | Posted by ChiefTutMoses at 2019-10-17 06:24 PM | Reply

"Guidance documents" sound a lot like how sheriffs and game wardens operate

Same goes for building inspectors

I suggest you do a little more backstory to the incidents cited in the above drama. There is way more to this than articulated in the fan tribute you shared.
Obviously the author couldn't fit in everything, especially after having to spend a paragraph ranting about college rape

#8 | Posted by ChiefTutMoses at 2019-10-17 06:38 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

I watched the Obama administration turn college campuses into kangaroo courts for adjudicating sexual assault allegations with on of these "guidance" letters.

#4 | POSTED BY JEFFJ

Me thinks he doth protest too much.

#9 | Posted by oldwhiskeysour at 2019-10-17 10:51 PM | Reply | Funny: 1

The little guy doesn't have the knowledge or the funds to hire the knowledge to fight the EPA.

#10 | Posted by visitor_ at 2019-10-18 12:25 PM | Reply

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