Rand Paul on Environment
Our federal government regulates everything and anything. How much water goes into you commode. How much water comes out of your showerhead. The temperature of the water in your washing machine. How many miles to the gallon your car must get.
The definition of wetlands has become so absurd and transparent that the Army Corps of Engineers developed the "migratory bird theory." This theory states that if your land is a stopping point for any migratory bird that has traveled between real navigable waters, then your land is now de facto connected to the interstate navigable streams. I'm not kidding.
This theory is irrational & completely illogical. How did it ever become enforceable law? It happened because Congress has abdicated its duty in this area. Citizens often run afoul of these rules inadvertently due to the constant evolution of complex and unexplained regulations.
Too often our rights are violated by abusive and power-hungry EPA bureaucrats who use threats, coercion, and force to implement power grabs. I wish these instances of abuse were random and the exception, but they have unfortunately come to characterize what many Americans now rightly see as a rogue government agency. EPA regulations have hampered landowners' ability to manage their private property as they please and have seriously impaired job creation. As with the massive cost of the EPA, many Americans are unaware of the routine suffering caused by the overreach of such regulatory agencies.
However, they filed their own lawsuit in federal court, arguing that the Administrative Procedure Act entitled them to a hearing before a judge. Yet the Sixth and Fourth Circuits rejected any possibility of judicial review. Is this not a complete violation of the separation-of-powers principle? These circuit courts essentially handed the EPA free rein over innocent Americans and their private property. Our government was literally telling the Sacketts that in the US, you are free--unless the EPA decides to get involved, at which point your right to due process and private property becomes null and void.
During one of the dozens of hearings held regarding this property, an architectural review board member said, "In my former life as a seagull, I was flying up and down the California coastline and saw your house built shaped as a seashell." And because his house plan did not match the seashell-shaped house this board member envisioned in her previous life as a bird, she voted against approving any of his plans.
Some would argue this board member to be certifiably insane. This landowner's American dream and basic constitutional right to private property was stifled due to a person in a position of power who is delusional at best. This is literally crazy--and if this story does not illustrate the perils of power-hungry government interventionists, then I do not know what does.
It remains a dangerous situation, though, because the definition of "navigable" is still nebulous and arbitrarily decided by the Corps. Congress has abdicated its responsibility to provide clear laws and guidelines for regulators and citizens to follow. I have introduced the Defense of the Environment and Property Act of 2012 in order to:
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Mr. WHITEHOUSE: This measure was part of the RESTORE Act, [but] this piece of it fell out of the bargain. If you supported the RESTORE Act, you have already supported this bill. If you believe that deals should be deals in the Senate, then you should support this bill. It is very important that we as a body support this bill. It does not create a single extra bureaucracy or person. It works within the existing government, and it adds no funding.
MississippiRiverDelta.org Summary of RESTORE Act: The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act) dedicates 80% of all Clean Water Act penalties paid by those responsible for the 2010 gulf oil disaster to Gulf Coast restoration.
Proponent's press release supporting Yes vote: The National Endowment for the Oceans, Coasts, and Great Lakes Act would provide steady funding that universities, non-profit organizations, and government agencies can count on every year to support research and restoration projects. It would be funded primarily by dedicating 12.5% of revenues from offshore energy development, including oil, gas, and renewable energy. Revenue is generated through offshore lease sales and production based royalty payments. Funds from the Endowment would be distributed through a competitive grant program to fund projects to restore habitat, manage fisheries, plan for sustainable coastal development, enhance ocean monitoring and research activities, acquire coastal properties for preservation, and relocate critical coastal infrastructure.
112th Mid-Term Humane Scorecard: The Humane Society Legislative Fund has posted the final version of the 2011 Humane Scorecard, where you can track the performance of your federal lawmakers on key animal protection issues during last year. We rated legislators based on their voting behavior on measures such as agribusiness subsidies, lethal predator control, and the Endangered Species Act; their cosponsorship of priority bills on puppy mills, horse slaughter, animal fighting, and chimps in research; their support for funding the enforcement of animal welfare laws; and their leadership on animal protection. All of the priority bills whose cosponsorships we're counting enjoy strong bipartisan support; in the House, each of the four now has more than 150 cosponsors.
The Humane Scorecard is not a perfect measuring tool, but creating some reasonable yardstick and allowing citizens to hold lawmakers accountable is central to our work. When the Humane Scorecard comes out each year, it helps clarify how the animal protection movement is doing geographically, by party affiliation, and in other categories. It helps us chart our course for animals by seeing where we have been effective, and where we need to improve.
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Retiring in 2014 election:
Retired as of Jan. 2013:
Senate Retirements 2014:
Senate races Nov. 2014:
AK: Begich(D) vs.Miller(R) vs.Treadwell(R) vs.Sullivan(R)
AR: Pryor(D) vs.Cotton(R) vs.Swaney(G) vs.LaFrance(L)
CO: Udall(D) vs.Gardner(R) vs.
DE: Coons(D) vs.Wade(R)
GA: Nunn(D) vs.Perdue(R) vs.Swafford(L) vs.
HI: Schatz(D) vs.
IA: Braley(D) vs.Ernst(R) vs.Butzier(L) vs.
ID: Risch(R) vs.Mitchell(D)
IL: Durbin(D) vs.Oberweis(R) vs.Hansen(L) vs.
KS: Roberts(R) vs.Orman(I) vs.Batson(L) vs.
KY: McConnell(R) vs.
LA: Landrieu(D) vs.Cassidy(R) vs.Maness(R)
MA: Markey(D) vs.Herr(R) vs.Skarin(I) vs.
ME: Collins(R) vs.D`Amboise(R) vs.Bellows(D)
MN: Franken(D) vs.McFadden(R) vs.Johnson(L) vs.
MS: Cochran(R) vs.Childers(D) vs.
NC: Hagan(D) vs.Tillis(R) vs.Haugh(L)
NE: Sasse(R) vs.Domina(D) vs.Haugh(L) vs.
NH: Shaheen(D) vs.Brown(R) vs.Smith(R) vs.Rubens(R) vs.Testerman(R) vs.Martin(R)
NJ: Booker(D) vs.Bell(R) vs.
NM: Udall(D) vs.Weh(R) vs.Clements(R)
OK-2: Lankford(R) vs.Johnson(D) vs.
OK-6: Inhofe(R) vs.Silverstein(D)
OR: Merkley(D) vs.Wehby(R) vs.
RI: Reed(D) vs.Zaccaria(R)
SC-2: Scott(R) vs.Dickerson(D) vs.
SC-6: Graham(R) vs.Hutto(D) vs.Ravenel(I) vs.
SD: Rounds(R) vs.Weiland(D) vs.Pressler(I) vs.Howie(I)
TN: Alexander(R) vs.Ball(D) vs.
TX: Cornyn(R) vs.Alameel(D) vs.Roland(L) vs.Sanchez(G) vs.
VA: Warner(D) vs.Gillespie(R) vs.Sarvis(L)
WV: Capito(R) vs.Tennant(D) vs.Buckley(L) vs.Lawhorn(I) vs.
WY: Enzi(R) vs.
Senate Votes (analysis)