In early July, I asked opponents of the EPA “Waters of the U.S.” rule to “Please stop the bombast–it is just a water rule.” That was a response to over-the-top denunciations coming from Attorney General Bondi and Commissioner of Agriculture Putnam. Where does that coarse rhetoric originate, anyway? From places like Florida’s own right-wing, secretly-funded “think tank”: the James Madison Institute.
The director of their “Center for Property Rights” solemnly warns Floridians that the EPA “federal bureaucracy” and their “power grab” will be checking on your “simple home improvement project.” In his previous job, he was spooked about the United Nation’s “Agenda 21” resolution and how it could be “the greatest threat to private property ownership, property rights and liberty today.”
Beyond that, Madison just published an EPA attack piece from the “Pacific Legal Foundation.” PLF tells Floridians to fear “a flood of federal regulations” that “nullifies constitutional limits on federal authority” and “illegally expands federal regulatory power.” The rule “defies comprehension.” The floodplain part of the rule is “odious” and arguments for the rule are both “deceptive” and “disingenuous.” Floridians are warned that the EPA may come after your home gardening practices (p. 3).
Even that level of vitriol is not extreme enough for the PLF. Their Florida attorney recommends that we think of the EPA as Jason Vorhees, a movie serial killer.
Protecting water resources can sometimes can be costly, but we must also recognize that Florida is the “Fishing Capital of the World” and that it is filled with extraordinary water resources. Words like the following make no appearance in the PLF article because they might induce a reader to think about them: Everglades, Okeechobee, fish, fishing, amphibian, bird, manatee, seagrass, ecology, benefit, balance, best management practice, nitrogen, phosphorus, algae, mercury, bacteria, disease, connectivity, dredging, canal, cypress, mangrove, estuary, biology, ecology, aquifer, springs, hydroperiod, rain, or drought.
Pardon me, but I have to go outside to rip up my garden. And replace it with landmines to defend against serial killers from EPA. They might be here at any moment.