FOX News reported:
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.Next, they will claim the right to foreclose on your house...
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 notice went on to say that the EPA had fast-tracked the new rule, enabling it to take effect September 2 unless the agency receives enough adverse public comments by August 1. The EPA said the rule was not subject to review because it was not a “significant regulatory action.”
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 to challenge the amount or the terms of 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.”