One day Wyoming resident Andy Johnson decided to build a pond on his property where he could house fish, his kids could play and his horses could drink. According to Deseret News, the Environmental Pollution Agency (EPA) accuses Johnson of breaching the Clean Water Act for blocking off Six Mile Creek and polluting the water to build his pond. The agency is treating hm with daily fines of up to $75,000 a day until he takes it all down.
Andy Johnson built the dam five years ago and placed in a nearby creek at Fort Bridger. He applied for all of the necessary state permits but the EPA asserts he needed a federal one to construct his pond making it and his dam illegal. The Deseret News also reports:
The EPA requires projects on the “waters of the United States” to receive the Army permit, the Associated Press reported. The EPA’s logic for deeming the 2-foot-wide, 6-inch-deep section of the Creek a part of the “waters of the United States” goes as follows: Six Mile Creek is a tributary of the Blacks Fork River, which is a tributary of the Green River. Because of Six Mile Creek’s relationship to the larger waterways, the EPA claims the creek is subject to the Clean Water Act.
Johnson argues that the creek’s waters are dispersed through irrigation canals and never make the nearly 100-mile journey to the Green River.
“The pond doesn’t start in a river or end in a river,” he said.
The Army Corp of Engineers examined the pond and concluded Johnson made a dam that produced dredged and fill material. He received notice of potential fines in January. Johnson has dug in and decided to fight. He says his edifice is free flowing and no water is stored. He also accuses the EPA of not providing any proof his project harms the environment.
The two U.S. Senators from Wyoming have communicated to the EPA on Andy Johnson’s behalf but the agency is unfazed. They state they tried to work with him but will review the facts of the case. Johnson, on the other hand, has received an outpouring of support with hundreds of phone calls from sympathizers including phone calls from non-profit law firms willing to sue the EPA on his behalf.
Andy Johnson never meant to do any harm and in a way a pox should be on state employees for not suggesting he get an EPA permit. That might have avoided this whole mess. None the less, Johnson thought he followed the appropriate laws to build his pond and now he is being sanctioned for a simple, honest mistake. When it comes to the use of one’s property, you have the right to use it up until a federal bureaucrat decides to make your life a living hell. The EPA was a major accomplishment for the greens when it was created in the 1970’s. It certainly reflects the environmentalist movement’s mission to make life for humans a living hell on Earth.