New Book, 'Shattered Dreams: 100 Stories of Government Abuse,'
Chronicles Suffering from Extreme Laws and Regulations
WASHINGTON, March 3 , 2003/U.S. Newswire/ -- To highlight the
staggering degree to which government regulations can harm average
Americans, The National Center for Public Policy Research's John P.
McGovern, M.D. Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs has
published its fourth compilation of stories of victims of
regulatory and government abuse. The publication, entitled
"Shattered Dreams: 100 Stories of Government Abuse," highlights
regulations that are poorly written and/or inflexibly enforced can
overwhelm, intimidate, bankrupt or otherwise harm average
"Egregious and sometimes arbitrary implementation of rules and
regulations can destroy people9s lives," said Chris Burger, program
coordinator for the John P. McGovern, M.D. Center for Environmental
and Regulatory Affairs, who helped compile Shattered Dreams.
"Often, no one is held accountable. We hope that putting a human
face on these problems will help bring about reform."
"Shattered Dreams" also contains an introduction by Congressman
Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), who was serves as the chairman of the
U.S. House of Representatives Resources Committee. His committee
is tasked with legislation relating to public lands, energy policy,
the Endangered Species Act and other wildlife issues.
The publication includes situations related to the Americans
with Disabilities Act, building codes, civil asset forfeiture, the
Department of Labor, education policy, eminent domain, the
Endangered Species Act, the Food and Drug Administration, free
speech infringement, the Immigration and Naturalization Service,
Indian affairs, the IRS, the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration, property rights, public lands, rails-to-trails
programs, small business, smart growth, water issues, wetlands and
Examples of five of the stories of regulatory abuse featured in
Shattered Dreams include:
-- Property owner Jack McFarland, his wife and three young
daughters must travel by foot over three miles to get to their home
near West Glacier, Montana, because the National Park Service
closes Glacier Route 7 every year for about five months following
the first snowfall. The McFarland family and others owning private
property near Glacier National Park have been denied motorized
access to their property on the theory that vehicles threaten
wildlife and cross-country skiers. For 90 years, the NPS
recognized that two federal laws prohibit it from blocking
homeowner access. Contrary to its prior position, it now argues
that its new regulation doesn't violate established federal law.
These families with children, after all, are still permitted to
walk in wolf country.
-- Pastor Fred Jenkins formed St. Luke's Pentecostal Church in
North Hempstead, New York, in 1979. For years, the church leased
space as it saved to buy a permanent home. In 1997, St. Luke's
purchased a property with a partially constructed church already
built. It then spent two years seeking government permission to
complete construction. Shortly after St. Luke's finally obtained
the necessary permit, the town condemned the property, and offered,
as compensation, $80,000 -- $50,000 less than the Church paid for
it. Adding insult to injury, the government said St. Luke's had no
right to appeal the loss of its property, claiming it lost that
right when the government first decided that it might later condemn
the land in 1994, three years before St. Luke's even owned it.
-- The president of New York's Lower East Side Tenement Museum
wants the museum to expand into the building next door. She wants
space to teach English to immigrants and local history to
residents. She'd like "state of the art" storage space.
like an elevator. She'd like more room for "immigrant artists"
are "searching for places to express their experiences."
would like to hold programs to "promote tolerance and teach
citizenship skills." Tolerance and citizenship skills
notwithstanding, she's asked the state government to take Lou and
Mimi Holtzman's building -- an apartment building the Holtzman
family has lived in since 1910 -- and turn it over to her museum.
Since the Holtzmans don't want to sell their recently-remodeled
apartment building, and their tenants don't want to leave, the
state may confiscate the property against their will, give it to
the museum and compensate the Holtzmans with taxpayer money at a
price set by the government.
-- After he removed illegally dumped tires and abandoned cars
from a property he purchased, a Pennsylvania man was told by the
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers that his clean-up efforts were a
violation of the Clean Water Act. After the man served a
year-and-a-half in prison for allegedly destroying wetlands and
subsequently filed for bankruptcy, three environmental groups filed
complaints with the government that the man's punishment was too
-- In 1923, the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement agreed to
allow the federal government to run the Maine-to-Georgia
Appalachian Trail through a portion of its Greymoor Monastery.
However, given an inch, the government wanted a mile, and the
friars may regret their generosity. The National Park Service
demanded an additional 18 acres of the monastery9s land in 2000,
with the threat that the land could be condemned and taken under
the government's power of eminent domain if necessary.
"American children are still taught the stirring words of
Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address: OEgovernment of the people,
by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth,"
said Amy Ridenour, president of The National Center for Public
Policy Research. "It's a lesson some government officials need
The John P. McGovern, M.D. Center for Environmental and
Regulatory Affairs is a project of The National Center For Public
Policy Research, a non-partisan, non-profit education foundation
located on Capitol Hill. For more information, contact David
Almasi at 202-371-1400 x106 or firstname.lastname@example.org or
visit our Web site at http://www.nationalcenter.org
for a free PDF
/U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/
Copyright 2003, U.S. Newswire
Contact: David Almasi of the National Center for Public Policy
Research, 202-371-1400 ext. 106,