Tom DeWeese is the president of the American Policy Center. Tom is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education, American sovereignty and independence and protecting our constitutionally guaranteed rights.
A recent action by President Trump reversed the EPA’s Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS Rule). The Obama administration used the EPA as a sledgehammer to role back property rights and expand the size of government. They took the Clean Water Act and stretched the definition of what’s known as ‘navigable waters’. They based this on the idea that water flows both above and below ground. Since they believed that even water poured down the drain eventually makes its way toward navigable waters, they declared that the EPA would have jurisdiction over all water everywhere. That included almost any piece of land that gets wet and ‘puddles’. Tom cited one example of a dirt road where the tire tracks would collect rain water. Even that was to be considered a ‘wetlands’.
This would have given the EPA regulatory authority over much of our private property. That put ranchers and farmers in a bad position as they were left uncertain as to what they can do on their property.
President Trump has also been calling for new investment to rebuild America’s infrastructure. However, Tom has given a vital warning for local and state governments as well as the federal government to avoid calls to fund this through what’s called, ‘public/private partnerships’.
Tom described public/private partnerships as a government sanctioned monopoly. These are contracts with corporations that contain no-compete clauses and guarantees for profits. He sees a vast difference between contracting with a private firm to do a job and being in partnership with them. So for Tom, public/private partnerships fit the definition of fascism. This is because these companies end up getting the power of government and eminent domain, the best places to set up their businesses, tax break, etc. At the same time, government can ‘hide’ behind the independence of business and make excuses, laying the blame for certain things on private business. What’s worse, if you’re not in that partnership, you are at a disadvantage in attempts to compete. In other words, this is not free enterprise.
Last year Housing and Urban Development (HUD) began enforcing what’s known as the Affirmative Furthering Fair Housing rule (AFFH). In the 60’s we had the Civil Rights Act that said people could not be stopped from buying property regardless of race, color or creed. However, it did not say that you had a right to be in a neighborhood if you couldn’t afford it.
For years, the American Policy Center has said that HUD grants are not free money; that they come with specific strings attached. Those strings are the creation of sustainable development, smart growth communities and Agenda 21. In a lawsuit involving Westchester County in New York, a non-governmental organization (NGO) filed suit against the county saying that they weren’t in compliance with the HUD grant they had accepted. The NGO group won the lawsuit. At that point, HUD determined they could use this decision across the nation which gave HUD major power. So now HUD is not only beginning to affect property values and rights, but also local rules as HUD agents dictate terms to local, elected representatives. In other words, they tell the local representatives that they either do what they’re told or they will be sued.
Here’s how this plays out. One of the things that HUD is requiring communities to do when putting a comprehensive plan together, is to bring in what are called, ‘stakeholders’. These are organizations in the community such as civil rights groups.
As a result of that, the NAACP in Baltimore filed a lawsuit saying that Section 8 housing (federally subsidized housing) creates ghettos and that’s not fair. They won the lawsuit. Now Baltimore has to spend 30 million dollars over the next 10 years (taxpayer money not HUD money) and build section 8 housing in an affluent, upscale neighborhood. That’s a recipe for destroying property values.
HR-953 and HR-1105 are pieces of legislation that would do away with the WOTUS rule rather than having to go through the tough regulatory process.
S-103 & HR-482 would do away with the AFFH rule at HUD.
To communicate with your legislators on any or all of these pieces of legislation, call your senators at 202-224-3121 or your congressman at 202-225-3121.