A heated legal battle between Virginia officials and the Environmental Protection Agency over what EPA critics describe as a land takeover gets its day in federal court Friday. The EPA, citing an abundance of stormwater runoff, has proposed a plan that Virginia officials say would cost them nearly half a billion dollars -- and could cost homeowners and businesses their private property. The EPA contends that water itself can be regulated as a pollutant if there's too much of it. The agency says heavy runoff is having a negative impact on Accotink Creek and that it has the regulatory authority to remedy the situation. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican, says what the EPA has proposed is "illegal," and he's not alone in the fight. He's been joined in a lawsuit against the federal agency by the Democratic-controlled Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Cuccinelli argues that what the EPA has planned would require state and county officials to "take people's houses, evict them, knock the houses down and plant grass." In legal filings, the EPA says that its plan is "in harmony with the broader purposes" of the Clean Water Act, including "reducing the water quality impacts of stormwater." "There is no possibility of homes being removed in this process," Simon Rosenberg, founder of the New Democrat Network, said. He called the claim by Cuccinelli an "overstatement." Ultimately, Judge Liam O'Grady will make the determination as to whether Cuccinelli and the Fairfax supervisors get the injunction they're hoping will put an end to the EPA's plans.
Great News: Your Permanent Record is Now Available on Demand - Hot Air - Remember when government needed something called a warrant or even probable cause to look at your records? Good times, good times. I’m nostalgic for the halcyon days of, er, February of this year, before the Attorney General of the United States signed off on an order allowing the government to access pretty much everything it wanted in the name of counterterrorism. The Wall Street Journal found out about the order and got a FOIA request to force its exposure:
Top U.S. intelligence officials gathered in the White House Situation Room in March to debate a controversial proposal. Counterterrorism officials wanted to create a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens—even people suspected of no crime.
Not everyone was on board. “This is a sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public,” Mary Ellen Callahan, chief privacy officer of the Department of Homeland Security, argued in the meeting, according to people familiar with the discussions. A week later, the attorney general signed the changes into effect. Read more......