EPA claims it has the power to garnish wages without court approval
The Environmental Protection Agency has quietly claimed that it has the authority to unilaterally garnish the wages of individuals who have been accused of violating its rules.
According to The Washington Times, the agency announced the plan to enhance its purview last week in a notice in the Federal Register. The notice claimed that federal law allows the EPA to "garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order."
The EPA has claimed this new authority by citing the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, which gives all federal agencies the power to conduct administrative wage garnishment, provided that the agency allows for hearings at which debtors can challenge the amount or the terms of a repayment schedule.
In response to the report, an EPA spokeswoman also pointed to a Department of Treasury rule from 2011 outlining debt collection for various agencies, including the EPA.
"Administrative Wage Garnishment (AWG) would apply only after EPA attempts to collect delinquent debts and after Treasury attempts to collect delinquent debts through other means," the spokeswoman told FoxNews.com. The spokeswoman added that the agency would provide notice "prior to any action," giving the debtor the opportunity to "review, contest or enter into a repayment agreement."
The plan has drawn protests from conservatives, including Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who told The Washington Times, "The EPA has a history of overreaching its authority. It seems like once again the EPA is trying to take power it doesn’t have away from American citizens.”
Now pick up that can!