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What is MDEF™ Investing? Strategy before tactics. Strategic investments dictate tactical actions in the Metals, Defense, Energy & Food sectors.

- Jeffrey C. Borneman

EPA’s Bizarre Reasoning – When a Mole Hill is a Mountain

Jeffrey C. Borneman | October 25, 2016

In August 2015, a Federal Judge ordered a halt to the EPA from commandeering all private property in the United States through its proposed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule. The Rule would have given the federal government via EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jurisdiction and control over virtually any water of any size in the United States and along with it, control over any land that water comes into contact with.

That Rule will be reviewed by the Supreme Court at some point but the EPA is nothing if not persistent. The latest bizarre news comes to us from a U.S. Senate Committee report release September 20, 2016. It is specific to farmers who plow fields creating what is commonly known as “furrows” in which seeds are placed. The EPA now views these furrows as “mini mountains”. This is not a joke. According to the EPA, furrows would be considered a “discharge of a pollutant” requiring a federal permit.

Jason Hayes, the director of environmental policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, told Michigan Capitol Confidential that the 1977 amendments to the Clean Water Act specifically exempted plowing as a “normal farming activity.”

“The Corps even tries to argue that these newly created small mountain ranges hamper the growth and development of wetland plant species, apparently ignoring the fact that farmlands are managed to produce crops, not cattails,” Hayes said in an email.

The Senate is accusing the EPA of playing words games to get around the laws in place that specifically restrict its oversight while the EPA refuses to comment and refers all questions to the Department of Justice.

If every farmer in America who plows fields must obtain permission through a use-permit, what stops the EPA from denying it for some arbitrary reason or setting the cost higher than the farmer can afford? This is truly insane.

Daren Bakst, a research fellow in agricultural policy at The Heritage Foundation, said it is not surprising that the EPA and Army Corps claim furrowing can create small mountain ranges.

“Does kicking a pebble next to water create a mini-meteor? Is a puddle a mini-ocean? Who knows?” Bakst wrote in an email. “The moral of the story is furrows will mean what they want them to mean until the courts stop them. Of course, Congress should have been stopping this nonsense a long time ago.”

Investor View

The long view of the EPA’s goals is that they closely aligned with the United Nations “sustainability” goals and what will be considered acceptable behavior by State’s in the future. The EPA is clearly writing Rules to manufacture scarcity by abolish private property rights through regulation by non-elected government employees.

The Rule of investing is to own what is both necessary and scarce. A savvy investor recognizes when its government allows the manufacturing of scarcity in the most important of essentials. 

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