Since being sworn into the Senate, Rand Paul has proved himself to be fearless defender of liberty. He has proposed real spending cuts, pushed for an audit of the Federal Reserve and hasn’t been afraid to stand against his own party. He was one of the few senators to vote against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). His short record in the Senate already shows that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

The courageous senator is now fighting back against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Sen. Rand Paul has introduced S. 2122, the Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2012 which would reform federal water policy to protect land owners. The bill would redefine “navigable waters” to explicitly clarify that waters must actually be navigable, protect the rights of states to have primary authority over the land and water within their borders, prohibit federal agents from entering private property without the express content of the landowner, among other things.

The EPA has created a nightmare for many Americans. Back in October 2011, Sen. Rand Paul held a roundtable forum to speak with Americans who have fallen victim to the EPA’s abuses.  Mike and Chantell Sackett of Idaho were present to share their tragic story. The couple bought a plot of land to build a house on back in 2006. Mike and Chantell made sure that they were following all of the laws before starting construction. Chantell even met with an Army of Engineers official who informed her that they did not need a permit to build a house on their own land.

Imagine their surprise when as soon as they started construction, three federal officials showed up on their property and demanded that they stop building the house claiming the lot was a wetland, protected under the Clean Water Act. The EPA threatened the Sackett family with daily fines of $32,000 if they did not remove fill material and replant vegetation. The federal bureaucrats informed the Sackett couple that they would face criminal penalties if they continued to build the house on their own land.

The federal agency had the nerve to bully Mike and Chantell on their own property. Unfortunately, the Sackett case is not unique. Thousands and thousands of Americans share similar stories of EPA abuse. The EPA has continuously violated our fundamental right to private property. Our Founding Fathers would be ashamed by how dangerously out of control the federal government has become.

More and more Americans are coming to realize that the EPA is not the answer. Most Americans are certainly pro-environment. We all want clean water to drink and clean air to breathe. There’s no denying that our environment is currently threatened with pollution, trash, loss of habitat, among a long list of things. But the answer is not more government regulation—quite the opposite. The solution to our environmental problems is freedom.

Freedom and unrestricted private property rights go hand and hand. The system of private ownership is the best way to protect the environment simply because private owners generally take care of their land. They have a vested interest in making it more valuable. As the president of the Future of Freedom Foundation Jacob G. Hornberger writes, “the basic difference between a private-property system and a public-property system is this: private owners, unlike bureaucrats, have an incentive to take care of their property in order to maximize their financial position.”

The best way to protect the environment is more private ownership of land. Government has actually destroyed the environment. Look at how the government has ruined rivers, national parks and forests. Who in their right mind would swim in government owned rivers such as the Hudson or Mississippi? Nearly all rivers owned by the government are extremely polluted. Unfortunately, many national parks are covered in trash and debris. Tragedy of the commons occurs because no one has a vested interest in keeping the parks clean because they are “publicly” owned.

Sen. Rand Paul is correct to take on the EPA. The federal agency has violated our constitutional rights and destroyed countless jobs. The Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2012 would help protect our fundamental right to private property. Please click here to tell your senator to cosponsor S. 2122 today.

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