EPA seeks wage garnishment power

Now this is lovely: the Environmental Protection Agency intends to assert for the first time a power to garnish your wages without a court order to cover fines or other sums it may assess. The new “administrative wage garnishment” power is fueled by a 1996 federal law, the Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA), which authorizes more direct means for the seizure of “fines, penalties or fees assessed by federal agencies” and other moneys owed them. The EPA is taking comments through August 1. [Robert Gordon, Daily Signal]

More, a semi-defense of the agency from Brent Fewell: since Congress has pushed these new collection methods on many agencies besides the EPA, the most suitable course for critics would be to press lawmakers to change the debt collection law, the EPA’s underlying statutes, or both.


  • That the folks at EPA think this is a good idea tells you just about everything you need to know about how they view our rights and the scope of their own power. These are very dangerous people, and the administrative state is officially out of control.

  • That proposed power seems to me to be inconsistent with the fifth amendment’s due process guarantee. [N]or shall any person . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law . . . .

  • Tsk, tsk, tsk there CW. Don’t you know that due process is so 18th century. Get with the program – how can we protect the environment if we have to actually get a court order to steal, I mean collect a fine that we’re the judge and jury on. We have 2 out of 3….we want the metaphoric executioner role as well.
    PS – who is your employer? We’ve assessed a large fine against you for daring to question our powers.

  • This may be a case of “department envy.”

    After all, the IRS can seize assets without a trial, hearing or even the person seeing a warrant before the seizure occurs, so why not the EPA?

  • […] Plus: “EPA has no business garnishing wages without due process” [Examiner editorial, earlier] […]