America Has So Many Environmental Regulations They Can’t Even Be Counted


Yesterday I wrote about modern Luddites who argue that America’s economy is suffer because too many laborers are being replaced by technology. Which doesn’t make any sense. Should we go back to farming with horses because that was more labor-intensive and employed more people on farms?

Rather, I argued that America isn’t being held back because technology is changing faster than ever, but rather because our government is larger than ever. Case in point, the web of environmental regulations American individuals and businesses must contend with in their day to day lives. There are apparently so many hundreds of thousands of regulations and laws on the books they can’t even be counted:

While there is no concrete figure, there are an estimated 300,000-400,000 environmental laws, statutes and mandates believed to be in circulation nationally. Many can land a person in prison, regardless of whether another person, plant or animal is harmed.

In Louisiana alone, there are more than 280 offenses relating to hunting, fishing and wildlife that could get a person locked up for a long time. If a shrimper in the state picks up another person’s broken crab trap and throws it away on land, he or she could be sent to prison for two months. If it happens more than once, there is a mandatory prison stay.

In Alabama, getting rid of scrap tires in an “unauthorized” manner is considered a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

In Mississippi, a person can spend six months in the slammer for “wounding, drowning, shooting, capturing, taking or otherwise killing any deer from a boat.”

The onslaught of environmental laws has clogged the legal system and pitted residents against powerful prosecutors. The vagueness and overreach of the laws can be staggering, Reddy told

North Dakota got a taste of absurd environmental law when US Prosecutor Tim Purdon, under the auspices of the Migratory Birds Treaty Act, attempted prosecute criminally a group of oil companies operating in the state for roughly two-dozen dead common ducks found after a three month investigation.

If you think the potential for that kind of abuse by government regulators and marauding, overzealous prosecutors isn’t chilling to doing business in America, think again.

What’s holding America back is government that has simply grown too large.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Kevin Flanagan

    It’s all part of the Alinsky strategy that the Obamites subscribe to.

  • two_amber_lamps

    The EPA is to the US as the Lilliputians were to Gulliver… a multitude of tiny strings amount to hinder and immobilize an economy.

    To what purpose…. LEFTIST CONTROL.

    • $8194357

      (To what purpose…. LEFTIST CONTROL.)
      And follow a UN AGENDA 21 global governance to benifit
      the international olagarchy of elites.

  • sbark

    Wonder if Heidi H—in her “centrist world”, now that she is on the Senate Ag committee—would propose some reign in of EPA as they work toward a new farm bill—-like putting back in the Navigable waters stipulation as a good start…….
    ……….after helping to complete a Fed budget after a 4 yr Dem’cat AWOL of course…….

  • WOOF

    EPA law is miniscule compared to zoning law which is all over the landscape.
    PS… Mess with a man’s crab pot can get you dead.
    shooting, capturing, taking or otherwise killing any deer from a boat.”
    kind of like shooting or running over deer from your truck.
    Allowed in ND ?

    • Kevin Flanagan

      “running over deer from your truck” Yeah, because that wouldn’t cause any damage to the truck.

    • mickey_moussaoui

      You are rambling again old timer. “Running over deer with a boat”??? “Crab pots”??? lol All i see is a crackpot

  • flamemeister

    I read somewhere recently that a person commits, on average, around 3 felonies a day of which he or she is unaware. I doubt that I commit more than one felony, but perhaps 3-15 misdemeanors. A cop once told me that he could violate anyone on some traffic violation by just following around the block.

  • silverstreak

    In case anyone hasn’t heard.
    Japan is preparing to bail on the Kyoto Protocol.

    It’s funny that the Kyoto Protocol and global warming doesn’t seem all that important to the Japanese when it’s their a$$es that are sitting in the dark.

    • mickey_moussaoui

      Good for the Japanese. Kyoto Protocol was a joke.

  • Thresherman

    The feds are required to publish an updated list of environmental regulations periodically by law. The Obama administration has failed to comply with this 3 times in a row. Why is their not one liberal concerned by this? I guess they believe ignorance of the law is no excuse, even when the powers that be refuse to announce the law.

    • leh

      You sound like you expect the oblabla administration to be subject to the law. With the present ag and prez, there is no ignorance of the law…just the desire to not complete anything considered detremental to their desires. Who is going to do anything about the situation?????????

  • Roy_Bean

    “If you think the potential for that kind of abuse by government
    regulators and marauding, overzealous prosecutors isn’t chilling to
    doing business in America, think again.”

    Yup, google up Ted Nugent and his Alaska adventure. The state of Alaska didn’t charge him but the U S Attorney did. He was convicted of transporting an illegally taken bear hide out of Alaska even though the State of Alaska didn’t feel the bear was taken illegally. Sounds like North Dakota isn’t the only state with a moron U.S. Attorney.

  • Nick Hart

    The media laments Congress isn’t doing its job when it isn’t passing new laws. But the media has it wrong. Maybe Congress should get busy repealing foolish, oppressive, outdated, and redundant laws. That would occupy their time rather than continuing to unleash one brutish attack after another on our freedoms.

  • banjo kid

    The law makers have become as kids playing a game until they run out of pieces to play with except they keep on going while the kids know better and start over with piece number one,same game same pieces. not kill all laws but the ones that need to be repealed and start over would be a good start , just about any EPA law should be repealed and they could have a grand time making up stupid regs until they run out of laws and then repeal and start again.

  • $8194357

    More EPA rules than can be counted…
    Yes, but a public union employee to oversee and regulate everyone
    of them when the little folks need to be taught a lesson in submission..

  • Enviro Equipment, Inc.

    Environmental regulations have gotten out of control to the point where even liberal California Gov. Jerry Brown and select trade unions are pushing for a streamlining of the state’s environmental restrictions that would allow more jobs to be created a lot faster.