Farmers and ranchers call the EPA’s new water rule the biggest land grab in the history of the world. It is a massive land grab, especially in a country that has been built on the right to own property. The administration is changing all that.
A new oppressive water rule gives the EPA jurisdiction over all public and private streams in the United States that are “intermittent, seasonal and rain-dependent.” It will regulate what are normal daily ranching and farming practices and take control of their land.
According to congressional budget testimony, waters of the United States would give the EPA authority over streams on private property even when the water beds have been dry, in some cases, for hundreds of years.
EPA Chief Gina McCarthy tested the power of the EPA in advance of the passage of these harsh new rules by using it in the case of a Wyoming man and his pond. The rule wasn’t even put through when the EPA threatened him. McCarthy took out her pen and phone.
Andy Johnson is being fined $37,500 a day and faces criminal penalties for building a pond on his property.
Andy and Katie Johnson built a stock pond on their 8-acre Wyoming farm. They filled it with clear water, fish, ducks and geese. His horses used it to drink and graze.
All went well until the EPA went after the family for violating the Clean Water Act. Regulators showed up on the Johnson’s land one day and said they were facing a “very serous matter.”
Andy Johnson has vowed to go bankrupt before he pays the government a dime. He wants to teach his children to not back down.
The EPA claims the Johnsons built a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. The EPA charges the pond discharges into other waterways. Johnson says it’s a pond to attract wildlife which is exempt from Clean Water regulations.
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