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Old 03-14-2014, 06:19 PM  
ChiefsandO'sfan ChiefsandO'sfan is offline
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Wyoming welder faces $75,000 a day in EPA fines for building pond on his property

All Andy Johnson wanted to do was build a stock pond on his sprawling eight-acre Wyoming farm. He and his wife Katie spent hours constructing it, filling it with crystal-clear water, and bringing in brook and brown trout, ducks and geese. It was a place where his horses could drink and graze, and a private playground for his three children.

But instead of enjoying the fruits of his labor, the Wyoming welder says he was harangued by the federal government, stuck in what he calls a petty power play by the Environmental Protection Agency. He claims the agency is now threatening him with civil and criminal penalties – including the threat of a $75,000-a-day fine.

“I have not paid them a dime nor will I,” a defiant Johnson told FoxNews.com. “I will go bankrupt if I have to fighting it. My wife and I built [the pond] together. We put our blood, sweat and tears into it. It was our dream.”

But Johnson may be in for a rude awakening.

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.

“Said permit is in good standing and is entitled to be exercised exactly as permitted,” the state agency letter to Johnson said.

But the EPA isn’t backing down and argues they have final say over the issue. They also say Johnson needs to restore the land or face the fines.

Johnson plans to fight. “This goes a lot further than a pond,” he said. “It’s about a person’s rights. I have three little kids. I am not going to roll over and let [the government] tell me what I can do on my land. I followed the rules.”

Johnson says he was “bombarded by hopelessness” when he first received the administrative order from the EPA. He then turned to state lawmakers who fast-tracked his pleas to Wyoming’s two U.S. senators, John Barrasso and Mike Enzi, and Louisiana Sen. David Vitter.

The Republican lawmakers sent a March 12 letter to Nancy Stoner, the EPA’s acting assistant administration for water, saying they were “troubled” by Johnson’s case and demanding the EPA withdraw the compliance order.

“Rather than a sober administration of the Clean Water Act, the Compliance Order reads like a draconian edict of a heavy-handed bureaucracy,” the letter states.

The EPA order on Jan. 30 gave Johnson 30 days to hire a consultant and have him or her assess the impact of the supposed unauthorized discharges. The report was also supposed to include a restoration proposal to be approved by the EPA as well as contain a schedule requiring all work be completed within 60 days of the plan's approval.

If Johnson doesn’t comply -- and he hasn't so far -- he’s subject to $37,500 per day in civil penalties as well as another $37,500 per day in fines for statutory violations.

The senators' letter questioned the argument that Johnson built a dam and not a stock pond.

“Fairness and due process require the EPA base its compliance order on more than an assumption,” they wrote. “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.”

The EPA told FoxNews.com that it is reviewing the senators' letter. "We will carefully evaluate any additional information received, and all of the facts regarding this case," a spokeswoman for the agency said.

The authority of the EPA has recently been called into question over proposed rule changes that would redefine what bodies of water the government agency will oversee under the Clean Water Act.

The proposed changes would give the agency a say in ponds, lakes, wetlands and any stream -- natural or manmade -- that would have an effect on downstream navigable waters on both public land and private property. “If the compliance order stands as an example of how EPA intends to operate after completing its current ‘waters of the United States’ rulemaking, it should give pause to each and every landowner throughout the country,” the letter states.

For now, the matter remains unresolved. Johnson says he’s not budging and there’s been no indication from the EPA they will withdraw the compliance order.

Regardless of the outcome, Johnson says his legal fight with the government agency is a teachable moment for his kids

“This is showing them that they shouldn’t back down,” Johnson said. “If you need to stand up and fight, you do it.”


http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014...-own-property/
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Old 03-14-2014, 06:30 PM   #2
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I wonder....did someone drop a dime on him......or exactly how did the EPA find out what was up????
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Old 03-14-2014, 06:44 PM   #3
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:59 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ChiefsandO'sfan View Post
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.
This is the major issue, and the reason he likely will lose (though the state permit seems to help his cause).

If he had created a huge pond hole and filled it with rain water or city water he paid for, than he probably would be in the clear. The fact that he damned a creek is likely the major problem since he is diverting water from people downstream.

There is a lot of case law and history regarding this issue, mainly due to farmers. Some person diverts water upstream which prevents a farmer from getting his water downstream to water crops or livestock. That isnt fair either.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:05 PM   #5
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EPA geeks, need to be shot on site.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:15 PM   #6
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This is how it begins….this guy needs to resist at all costs and the government forced to give up.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:16 PM   #7
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First priority of a conservative president should be gut the EPA.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:17 PM   #8
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EPA geeks, need to be shot on site.
Yes, yes they do.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:27 PM   #9
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Water rights are becoming HUGE all across the nation these days, its the new oil in many ways... control water and you control land.

Not sure where this case goes, if he dammed things up too much the neighbors might have case... but make no mistake, water is becoming a MASSIVE issue across the country.

Some gubment types don't even think you should be able to collect rainwater in some states, its not yours to collect, it belongs to the state...
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:31 PM   #10
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First priority of a conservative president should be gut the EPA.
thats how you get superfund sites or spills in waterways (like what happened recently in west virginia). Unfortunately we dont live in a world where all people are good stewards of nature.

This kind of goes to show you how reactionary people are. You here a biased story like this article and people scream "gut the EPA." I bet if brown water was coming out of your pipes and you were living on property that was toxic, you would be the first to scream "there should be a law against that."

If you want to see what a world is without an EPA, take a look at what is going on in places like China and India.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:33 PM   #11
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The Administrator of the EPA, Gina McCarthy, is testing the power of the EPA in advance of the passage of harsh new rules that will give the EPA control of all the bodies of water in the country. The EPA sees themselves as the overseers of all water on all property in the United States, public or private, whether it be lakes, streams or even ditches.

No landowner’s property will be safe from these people. These assholes are out of control.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:40 PM   #12
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Jfc this shit is getting out of hand
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:43 PM   #13
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The Administrator of the EPA, Gina McCarthy, is testing the power of the EPA in advance of the passage of harsh new rules that will give the EPA control of all the bodies of water in the country. The EPA sees themselves as the overseers of all water on all property in the United States, public or private, whether it be lakes, streams or even ditches.

No landowner’s property will be safe from these people. These assholes are out of control.
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No wonder they tried to kill Reagan and almost succeeded in creating a martyr in Gabby Giffords as well... its all part of the plan...
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:44 PM   #14
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thats how you get superfund sites or spills in waterways (like what happened recently in west virginia). Unfortunately we dont live in a world where all people are good stewards of nature.

This kind of goes to show you how reactionary people are. You here a biased story like this article and people scream "gut the EPA." I bet if brown water was coming out of your pipes and you were living on property that was toxic, you would be the first to scream "there should be a law against that."

If you want to see what a world is without an EPA, take a look at what is going on in places like China and India.
Or we could look at how states control their own resources. People like you want to give people that don't live in a certain region rights to control those that do live there. Like they are more brilliant then the local managers or something. I bet you didn't understand my post.
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Old 03-14-2014, 08:46 PM   #15
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Or we could look at how states control their own resources. People like you want to give people that don't live in a certain region rights to control those that do live there. Like they are more brilliant then the local managers or something. I bet you didn't understand my post.
Or you know there is this wonderful thing called the civil court system, so if some company pollutes your property without prior agreement you can sue them for damages.
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