Discourse : Restoring the Rule of Law

June 21, 2023 | By CHARLES YATES

Since the Supreme Court decided Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency on May 25, some commentators have been pushing a regrettable narrative, about how an “activist” and “anti-science” court bucked “expert” regulators to gut the Clean Water Act and pollute our nation’s wetlands. Pardon the pun, but suc ...


Here’s how big the Sackett victory is

June 07, 2023 | By CHARLES YATES

With the Sackett v. EPA decision on May 25, the Supreme Court restored proper limits on the federal government’s Clean Water Act powers. For decades, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers stretched the definition of “navigable waters” to include semi-soggy parcels of residential land, like Chantell and Mi ...


The Hill : Biden administration jumps the gun on ‘navigable waters’ rule

February 13, 2023 | By CHARLES YATES

The Biden administration recently published its final definition of “navigable waters” — establishing the scope of federal power to regulate private property under the Clean Water Act. This is the relevant agencies’ — Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — fourth attempt at crafting such ...


The Hill : Biden reaches for his pen — and undermines separation of powers

November 21, 2022 | By CHARLES YATES

Faced with a Congress that would not endorse his expansive regulatory agenda, President Obama famously remarked, “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone.” Almost 10 years later, governing by executive fiat continues. The latest round of policymaking by pen and phone came when President Biden designated 53,804 acres of land in n ...


It’s time to reevaluate the Clean Water Act

July 14, 2022 | By CHARLES YATES

The Clean Water Act turns 50 this fall—and like most things at age 50, it no longer functions like it once did.  Congress passed the Clean Water Act (CWA) on October 18, 1972, to combat pollution in the country’s more-than-25,000 miles of waterways. But 50 years later, the government isn’t enforcing the CWA as a … ...


The Regulatory Review : The Biden administration should not sunset the Sunset Rule 

April 04, 2022 | By CHARLES YATES

Entering its second year in office, the Biden Administration continues to undermine statutory constraints on the administrative state. Most recently, it proposed repealing the Securing Updated and Necessary Statutory Evaluations Timely rule, or Sunset Rule, that had previously been adopted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)� ...


PLF clients to Biden administration : “Put down the rulemaking pen and wait for the Supreme Court on ‘navigable waters’”

February 17, 2022 | By CHARLES YATES

On December 7, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Army posted their hefty, proposed re-write of a major water regulation in the Federal Register.  During the comment period that followed, the agencies’ “Revised Definition of Waters of the United States” collected more than 93,000 comments—a remarka ...


The Hill : The SUNSET provision for old regulations will improve agency accountability

February 22, 2021 | By CHARLES YATES

With President Biden’s first 100 days well under way, the Trump administration’s regulatory reform agenda might seem like a distant memory. But one rule, known as Securing Updated and Necessary Statutory Evaluations Timely (SUNSET), finalized by the Department of Health and Human Services on the previous administration’s last full ...


Daily Journal : High court should require agencies to be transparent about decision-making

December 08, 2020 | By CHARLES YATES

In a letter written late in his life to Kentucky legislator William Barry, James Madison warned that a “popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both.” In the context of the sprawling and often unaccountable modern administrative state these wor ...