March 17, 2014 in Government
The out of control EPA, the government agency with its own SWAT team, has gone after another
land owner who dares touch a body of water on his own land.
PJ Tatler broke the story about Andrew Johnson who built a stock pond on his own land. The EPA says he dammed up a stream on his property to do it and under the federal standards, he will be fined $75,000.00 per day until he restores it.
Three US Senators, Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member David Vitter (R-La.), along with Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), sent the EPA a letter asking the acting water administrator Nancy Stoner what the heck she was playing at:
“EPA appears more interested in intimidating and bankrupting Mr. Johnson than it does in working cooperatively with him,” the senators noted of the severe fines Johnson faces. “…Fairness and due process require that EPA base its Compliance Order on more than an assumption. Instead of treating Mr. Johnson as guilty until he proves his innocence by demonstrating his entitlement to the Clean Water Act section 404(f)(1)(C) stock pond exemption, EPA should make its case that a dam was built and that the Section 404 exemption does not apply. As it stands now, EPA’s failure to demonstrate in detail how Mr. Johnson’s building activities constituted the construction of a dam prejudices his opportunity to meaningfully respond to the Compliance Order.”
Indeed, Johnson told Fox News he actually has a permit to build the stock pond and, oh by the way, is also exempt from EPA scrutiny,
The government says he violated the Clean Water Act by building a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. Further, the EPA claims that material from his pond is being discharged into other waterways. Johnson says he built a stock pond — a man-made pond meant to attract wildlife — which is exempt from Clean Water Act regulations.
The property owner says he followed the state rules for a stock pond when he built it in 2012 and has an April 4-dated letter from the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office to prove it.
Where does the EPA get off telling land owners what they can and can’t do with trickles of water on their own land?
The EPA’s action was initiated soon after controversy brewed on the Hill over the EPA’s proposed rule redefining “waters of the United States” in the Clean Water Act to include all ponds, lakes, wetlands and natural or manmade streams that have any effect on downstream navigable waters — whether on public lands or private property.
The EPA has been using a nebulous definition of “navigable waters” for years now. Their idea of navigable waters includes creeks that are dry half the year.
Read the rest here.