mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Put down the shovel and step away from the dirt...

WSJ's OpinionJournal has a great article about a guy who may go to jail for 10 years for moving dirt on his own land. This stems from wetlands regulations - the guy was trying to fill in some drainage ditches that were on the property. Yup, drainage ditches - meant to keep the supposed wetland dry.

I have a big problem with wetlands and other similar environmental regulations - which says that you can't do what you want with your land that you bought. It takes what is arguably a public good - environmental preservation and/or preservation of extinct animals and plants - and places the cost on one landowner, who has paid money for land that he or she can't use. To me, that's theft - the government is taking your land, usually people's biggest asset.

The one person who has said something reasonable is the judge in the case:
Now it's Mr. Rapanos's turn. At his original sentencing hearing in 1998, the same Judge Zatkoff highlighted the absurdity of the situation when he pointed to a drug dealer he'd sentenced that day in the same courtroom. "Here we have a person," Judge Zatkoff said, "who commits crimes of selling dope and the government asks me to put him in prison for 10 months. And then we have an American citizen, who buys land, pays for it with his own money, and he moves some sand from one end to the other and [the] government wants me to give him 63 months in prison. Now, if that isn't our system gone crazy, I don't know what is. And I am not going to do it. I don't believe he got a fair trial."


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