Friday, October 6, 2006
Which is the most powerful branch of government? In many cases, the answer is the “fourth branch” of government –- administrative agencies. With the executive and legislature busy on “hot-button” topics and re-election worries, agencies turn policy into rules that affect land use on an every-day basis, even though few people pay attention to the details.
In the case of the Bush administration’s land management decisions, the Washington Post perceives that agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the NOAA Fisheries Service are choosing not to implement many environmental protection laws, and that federal judges are reacting strongly to the perceived neglect. The power of citizens to sue over government’s environmental and land use errors is a critical component of our federal laws; without them, few people, including the media, would notice.