Tonawanda News

Opinion

April 23, 2014

CONFER:

Tonawanda News — The United States of America was founded on the premise of natural rights, succinctly dictated as the unalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

During the era in which the Declaration of Independence was framed, the pursuit of happiness applied to property rights. Our founding fathers knew that man has the right to attain property, keep it, and engage in its use to make his life better in manners that he saw fit as long as the rights of others were not infringed.

Despite the obviousness of these rights, the framers of our nation found it necessary to clearly define them in the Declaration and once again in the Fifth Amendment because history showed them that the inalienability of property rights had been cast aside by numerous despots and societies, which in turn led to one of two things: oppression of their people or the ruination of those societies.

Over time, our government has purposely strayed from these basal tenets. Property has become something that our federal government has gained illegally and expanded its power over, controlling its use at whim.

Matters look to only get worse with subjugation of water rights by the federal government through amendment of the scope of the Clean Water Act of 1972.

In its current form the act gives jurisdiction over navigable waters to the federal government. This is not a perfect law, but it does have some merit because regulation of navigable waters is necessary for the maintenance of interstate trade (one of the defined powers of the federal government), and those upstream can very easily affect the life, liberty and happiness of others downstream if they are not regulated in their industrial and waste outputs or kept from damming the waterway.

The modified version of the Clean Water Act, the draft of which was introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency less than a month ago, would expand its regulatory powers beyond navigable waters and would throw into the mix any waterway that contributes to the watershed of the navigable water. Therefore, federal jurisdiction would be extended to all bodies of water – permanent or intermittent – everywhere in the United States, be they in your backyard or on your farm. The federal definition would be extended to include, among other things, streams, wetlands, sloughs, wet meadows, ponds and ditches.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • OUR VIEW: Arson suspect never deserved bail Two of the 11 fires reported on Fifth Avenue could have been prevented with some jurisprudence in evaluating whether the suspect, Michelle Johnston, deserved to be offered bail. Given the obvious nature of a repeat offender who was charged with nine felony arson counts, bail never should have been offered in this case.

    July 25, 2014

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo