Congress Must Protect Innocent Property Owners from Section 404 Civil and Criminal Penalties
Daren Bakst and Tony Francois, “Congress Must Protect Innocent Property Owners from Section 404 Civil and Criminal Penalties," Heritage Foundation Issue Brief No. 5275, June 22, 2022.
7 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2022
Date Written: June 21, 2022
For decades, property owners across the United States have struggled to comply with the Clean Water Act, in large part because they do not know which “waters” are regulated. Vague definitions, inconsistent enforcement, and changing rules contribute to this ongoing problem. Despite the confusion, the federal government continues to impose civil and criminal penalties on property owners—even when they cannot know that they are violating the law. Congress should rectify this situation by protecting innocent property owners while giving the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers the necessary flexibility to properly and reasonably enforce the law.
Keywords: clean water act, wetlands, environment, mens rea, environmental protection agency, corps of engineers, property rights, private property, land use, enforcement, waters of the united states, navigable waters
JEL Classification: K1, K2, K3, K4, K10, K11, K20, K23, K32, K40, K42, Q2, Q10, Q15, Q20, Q24, Q25, Q28, Q53, Q57
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation