Been there and done that with these scoundrels. You can follow all of the rules and still get caught in their web of mass destruction. When I see something like this it makes the hair on my head stand up. The reason they do this is, “it is called land confiscation. The government is moving through the country trying to confiscate property whether it is by not giving the land owners water to run them out of business or just plain thievery.
In our situation they stated that we had inherited our property and did not pay inheritance taxes. It took us a year to clear this and the lawyers’ fees, etc. So it is unbelievable! All of these people who are renewing their loans through the government better read the fine print because if the government is giving you something – it is not the government’s but really belongs to a taxpayer – the governments own’s nothing.
Rancher fights $16 million EPA fine for building pond!
Feds claim property owner violating Clean Water Act!
A rancher who obtained the state permits he needed for a stock pond on his acreage near Fort Bridger, Wyoming, then received approval from the state when it was finished now is facing the possibility of fines totaling millions of dollars because he didn’t get a permit from the federal government.
A lawsuit filed against the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, however, argues federal law clearly exempts stock ponds from EPA rules, so he shouldn’t even have had to contact the agency.
EPA officials at the agency’s Denver office told WND they could not comment on the lawsuit filed in federal court in Wyoming by the Pacific Legal Foundation.
The foundation is representing Wyoming rancher Andy Johnson against the EPA compliance order threatening him with $37,500 in fines per day. During the 14 months that Johnson has contested the EPA’s claim, his potential liability has risen to more than $16 million.
“We are challenging an outrageous example of EPA overreach against a private citizen who has done nothing wrong,” said PLF Staff Attorney Jonathan Wood. “Andy Johnson constructed a pond for his livestock by damming a stream on his private property with no connection to any navigable water.
Under the plain terms of the Clean Water Act, he was entirely within his rights, and didn’t need federal bureaucrats’ permission.
Andy Johnson built a “stock pond” to provide better access to water for animals on his ranch.
“But EPA regulators have decided they know better than the law,” Wood continued. “By trying to seize control of Andy Johnson’s land – and threatening him with financial ruin – they are imposing their will where they have no authority. Ironically, EPA is attempting to destroy a scenic environmental asset that provides habitat for fish and wildlife, and cleans water that passes through it, all in the name of enforcing the Clean Water Act.”
The pond was created in 2013 by building a dam across an intermittent stream. It provides a more reliable water source for Johnson’s horses, cattle and other livestock.
The legal team, which is seeking a court’s declaration that the pond is exempt from EPA oversight and a cancellation of the compliance order along with an injunction preventing future arguments, said that Johnson had obtained from Ray and Susan Kagel, experts in stream and wetland restoration and mitigation, reports that the dam actually improves the habitat in the area.
Get “Climategate: A Veteran Meteorologist Exposes The Global Warming Scam,” for the latest in the fight over the environment.
Their reports explained there were “numerous” environmental benefits from the creation of wetlands and riparian vegetation areas as well as habitat for migratory birds, fish and wildlife.
Even the water draining off the property was cleaner than the water entering, they said.
“In addition to providing water for his livestock, the pond has been an environmental boon,” said Ray Kagel, a former Army Corps of Engineers enforcement officer and environmental consultant.
Among the beneficiaries have been moose and bald eagles.
“According to tests by an independent lab, the water flowing out of Andy’s pond is three times cleaner than the water entering his pond,” Kagel noted. “And the suspended solids in the nearest navigable waterway – the Green River – are 41 times greater than in Andy’s pond, which means that Andy’s pond is significantly cleaner than the downstream river that’s allegedly affected.”
Wood said the EPA’s “double standard is mind-blowing.”
“This is the same agency that just created a toxic mess in Colorado’s Animas River, with no accountability for the blundering bureaucracy. But here they are, threatening Andy Johnson with astronomical fines, for building an environmentally beneficial stock pond that actually purifies the water that runs through it.”
Besides, PFL reported, the Clean Water Act specifically exempts “construction or maintenance of farm or stock ponds.”
The foundation explains the issues in a video:
The case, filed in U.S. District Court in Cheyenne, Wyoming, is being handled by the PFL, with the help of Cheyenne attorneys Daniel Frank of the Frank Law Office, P.C., and Karen Budd-Falen of Budd-Falen Law Offices, L.L.C.
Wood explained Johnson had tried to get the EPA to correct its order.
“For more than a year, Andy Johnson has sought to explain EPA’s error to it,” said Wood. “He provided them a report on the project prepared by a former Army Corps of Engineers enforcement officer that lauds its many environmental benefits. Of course, he pointed to his receiving all the necessary state and local permits. But EPA won’t budge, or even explain why it should be able to ignore the law’s exemption for stock ponds.”
Johnson said he wanted “to provide stock water for our horses and cows, improve our property, and provide an environmental benefit as well.”
“”We went through all the hoops that the state of Wyoming required, and I’m proud of what we built. My pond has been a tremendous environmental benefit. You can see moose and other wildlife come down, and four- and five-pound brown trout live in it. And water that goes out through the spillway is filtered and pristine,” he said.
“But the EPA has ignored all of that.”
The present EPA is a joke. Elect a true conservative who is not a politician and they promise they will eradicate the Federal EPA and leave it to the individual states to follow the conservation rules.