Property rights attorneys decry environmental ‘lawlessness’
SPOKANE — Two legal experts who have made careers of defending property rights advise rural residents to keep out ahead of the federal government.
The Environmental Protection Agency is the “most lawless agency in a lawless administration,” said attorney and author William Perry Pendley, president and chief operating officer for the Mountain States Legal Foundation in Lakewood, Colo. He cited efforts to drive coal plants out of business and determine 1 million acres in Wyoming, including the town of Riverton, Wyo., belongs to Native Americans.
Environmentalists want to elevate the legal rights of inanimate objects, Pendley charged, allowing lawyers to represent streams or wildlife on farmers’ lands.
Pendley said the National Environmental Policy Act, originally a procedural statute and not a environmental protection statute, keeps oil refineries from being built in the United States and allows timber to rot before harvest every summer.
The Endangered Species Act was originally slated to protect a hundred species on federal land, with “just compensation” for any impact to private lands.
“We’re now 2,000 (species) and going north,” Pendley said. “It’s on private property coast to coast, border to border. And I know of no case in which a private property owner has been paid. We’ve gone from protecting the warm and fuzzies to protecting the cold and slimies.”
All 50 states have laws requiring state agencies to coordinate with local policy and local governments, including more than 15 statutes in Washington, said Fred Kelly Grant, lead attorney for the Stand and Fight Club, a project of the Center for Defense of Free Enterprise in Bellevue, Wash.
“If only the local governments knew it,” he said. “If we had 5,000 local governments in this country using the coordination process, the EPA would be toothless.”
Pendley advises farmers who feel their property rights are being infringed upon work with their associations and contact legal counsel, including his own foundation.
“You should always approach these things from the standpoint of being proactive and being defensive,” he said. “Protect yourself at all times.”
Pendley and Grant received lifetime achievement awards and spoke during the Citizens Alliance for Property Rights annual banquet in Spokane.
Mountain States Legal Foundation: www.mountainstateslegal.org
Stand and Fight Club: http://standandfightclub.com