Real-life Stories of Abusive Federal Regulations

The Cost of Excess Government

The Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy estimates that it costs Americans $1.75 trillion to comply with federal regulations each year. To put $1.75 trillion into perspective, that amount is larger than all but eight economies in the world. It also means that over 10% of the U.S. economy is spent on trying to satisfy rules issued by Washington bureaucrats. That doesn’t even include federal, state, and local taxes.

This heavy regulatory burden diverts resources from innovation to compliance, discourages business investment, and chills job creation. It is no accident that as Washington adds new regulations, more and more Americans are unemployed and underemployed.

From 2003 to 2010, agencies did not publish Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) for approximately 35% of rules with a cost of $100 million or more. This number has nearly doubled since 1998. NPRMs alert the public that the agency is considering a regulation, gives the public the opportunity to comment on the proposed regulation, and allows the agency to use public input to revise the regulation. GAO found that when agencies consider public input while drafting legislation, the regulations are often improved and cost less.

Elected leaders need to carefully consider the costs and negative unintended consequences of unnecessary federal regulations. They need to remember that real people must comply with these regulations and that making them overly burdensome stifles American growth.

Sen. Ron Johnson’s (WI) shares these real-life stories of intrusive, arrogant and abusive federal regulations and how they affect the lives of Americans.

Victims of Government:

Does Dry Desert Land Fall under the Clean Water Act?

The Army Corps of Engineers can regulate a dry creek bed in the desert under the ‘wetland’ regulations of the Clean Water Act?”After retiring, Frankie and I started to clean up our land. We were shocked when one day we received a ‘Notice of Violation’ in the mail from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers accusing us of violating the Clean Water Act by conducting unpermitted work in a ‘water of the United States.’”He explained: “Given that we live in the high desert of New Mexico and the arroyo – like the rest of our property – is bone dry, we thought there was some mistake. We were really taken aback by the arrogance of the agency which didn’t even bother to call us or knock on our door.“And we still can’t believe that the federal government can control what we do in our own backyard under the Clean Water Act when there is no water on our property! The real problem for us now is that we’re afraid to continue our cleanup and maintenance efforts because the Corps told us that we will be considered ‘knowing violators’ subject to civil and criminal liability if we do any more work without obtaining a permit.”Smith said the lawsuit was launched “because we think the federal government has wrongfully trampled on our right to use and enjoy our property.”“We don’t believe Congress ever intended to give the Corps power to regulate dry creek beds like ours and we want to help put an end to the Corps’ ridiculous interpretation of ‘waters of the United States.”
Read more about the Smith case.      Click here to share your story with us.

Steve’s Story


Alaska’s King Cove

The Department of the Interior believes a perceived risk to birds is more important than a very real threat to human lives:

The Department of Interior decision to prohibit a road between King Cove and Cold Bay 25 miles away has ired Alaska’s politicians, who made remarks after the decision.

Governor Parnell expressed deep frustration with the USFWS decision, saying , “I cannot fathom why the Fish and Wildlife Service prioritized a perceived risk to birds over an existing threat to human life,” Governor Parnell said. “After years of good faith efforts by the State of Alaska, the Alaska Legislature, the Aleutians East Borough, the City of King Cove, the King Cove Corporation, the Agdaagux Tribe, the Belkofski Tribe, and local residents to work with the federal government, the USFWS chose to deny King Cove residents access to basic services, like all-weather medical evacuation.”

Read more here      Click here to share your story with us.

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Linda S.
9 years ago

Actually I think that when someone applies for a government job they are asked if they know how to use common sense….if they say no, then they are hired. But then the EPA & other government agencies have been running amok for decades ruining people’s lives by ruling capriciously what they can do with their own property (which we all know doesn’t belong to them- just try not paying property taxes for a few years & see how long you own it).

9 years ago

All good examples of the abuse and over-reach of an out of control and largely unaccountable federal government. The EPA is one of the most efficient destroyers of economic growth and jobs in this country. They create many regulations of questionable or no real value to the American people, with no concern for the economic cost and impact on the lives of the people they touch.

9 years ago

Yes, that is our federal government. regulate a waterway that doesn’t exist and punish the landowner. But what about the lack of government responsibility when it comes to frac sand mining? Landowners next to or near mining and processing operations are being ignored. They are subject to noise (sometimes 24 hours a day), air pollution, reduced land values, excessive traffic that damages roads and creates unsafe traffic levels. Wells are failing, wildlife is affected and the lakes, rivers and streams are being polluted. Government bureaucracy is out of control. Common sense is obviously not a part of their job description.

Diana Erbio
9 years ago

All too often government regulation is about control rather than positive results. That is why the government that governs least is best for the people.

Kay Passage
9 years ago

What has happened to old fashioned “Common Sense”?

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