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Federal Government vs. Landowner

Federal Government vs. Landowner

7/1/2015 9:00:00 AM/Categories: General News, Today's Top 5, Research


The lawsuit filed by Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, along with the suits by 12 other states against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) over the new regulation broadly expanding the definition of “Waters of the U.S.” is a notable move by states to fight back to protect their landowners. For many landowners facing sanctions by federal regulatory agencies, or simply for any US citizen charged with a pile of paperwork which must be filled out and filed in order to receive their natural born rights, frustration is mounting. Many people are finally asking, “What can we do to make a difference?”


The American Agri-Women (AAW) is just one of the organizations who is taking a stand for landowner rights. AAW is the nation’s largest coalition of farm, ranch and agribusiness women. On June 8, the group held their 22nd annual Symposium at the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. The symposium titled “Divided Lands: Federal vs. State Management in the West,” looked at federal land management as opposed to states managing their own lands. Symposium chair Karen Yost of Billings, MT commented, ““The issue of too much or too little federal lands is one that is being currently debated on both sides of the Mississippi River. While Eastern states have little federal lands within their boundaries, the cost output of managing public lands in the Western states affects the fiscal budget for all states[1].”


Among the panel members at the AAW symposium was Harriet Hageman, Managing Partner of Hageman Law in Cheyenne, Wyoming to Billings to discuss this very topic of Federal versus State regulation of land and waters. Hageman fought and won the case in 2013 in Worland, Wyoming where the government went after David Hamilton to the tune of $65 million in fines and penalties for moving an irrigation ditch which affected 2.1 acres of land.  (CLICK HERE to read the article posted on Northern Ag about the case)


Last week, Montana Agri-Women brought Hageman to Billings to share her charge with the Ag community in Southeastern Montana.


Hageman spoke of a government saddled in 18.2 trillion dollars in debt which chooses to utilize its nonexistent resources to fund such campaigns as researching “shrimp on treadmills” and an article on “how to safely roast marshmallows”.


Another example Hageman sited of regulatory agencies using government resources to tackle the small print was a fine hammered down on a Missouri family who started selling rabbit meat as a 4-H project. The family later began selling their rabbits to a pet store wholesale, which, doing so without a license constituted a “paperwork violation” of the 1966 Animal Welfare Act. This act was originally created to prevent the abuse of animals. The family was fined over $90,000 for a 4-H project that brought in $4000-$5000 in revenue and a profit of $200-$400.


Hageman’s message to the Montana Agri-women was that we can fight against the bureaucracy and the thousands of pages of regulations which plague business people, landowners, and each and every American. There cannot be regulation without representation.


Hageman said, “We are all entitled to a fair fight. We are all entitled to fight with our government. We are entitled to tell our government that they can pound sand. We are entitled to tell those regulators that they are not entitled to go on our land unless they get a search warrant to do it. We have the rights to do that…We need to make congress directly answerable to the voters for the costs that the agencies impose on the public. We have to start forcing them to use the power of the purse to get control of this.”


Hageman emphasized three primary tactics for fighting for state rights and against federal regulation:


  1. Participate in comment periods that every rule and regulation undergoes.
  2. Talk to your state and federal legislators and hold them accountable.
  3. Talk to your governors and hold them accountable to protect your state.


CLICK HERE to listen to a portion of Harriet Hageman's speech at the Montana Agri-Women Symposium.  




© Northern Ag Network 2015



Smith Mine bokeh by m01229, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  m01229 

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