EPA Strike Again: Fining family $75,000 a day for Building Pond on their Property

A Wyoming Family is fighting for their land after the EPA ordered them to remove a homemade stock pond from their eight-acre property or face civil and criminal penalties.

The Johnson Family spent hours constructing their stock pond; filling it with water, stocking it with trout, and bringing in ducks and geese. But instead of being able to enjoy their pond,that was built on their own land, they are now in a battle with the federal government who claims they have the right to remove the family’s pond.

According to Andy Johnson, the Environmental Protection Agency is treating his family with $75,000 a day in penalties and is also threatening to take criminal action against him and his family.

“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, like many other families that have been targeted by the EPA, may be in for a very long and costly battle.

The government says the family violated the Clean Water Act by building a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. The EPA has been using this tactic to seize land throughout the country, and recently drafted a set of rules vastly expanding the agency’s power – rules that could cause millions of Americans to lose their property rights.

Under the Clean Water Act, the EPA has claimed authority over almost every waterway in the country including private ponds, creeks and even culverts that transport rainwater.

Earlier this year, in another blatant abuse of power by the EPA, the agency seized the entire town of Riverton, Wyoming handing it over to the Wind River Indian Reservation. This and other cases, like the Sackett family who battled for years to build on their own land, is a disturbing trend that seems to be increasing in regularity.

We covered the Sackett’s story back in 2011, and since then we have seen numerous examples of the EPA using the Clean Water Act to extort people into paying huge amounts of money to the federal government. In the Sackkets case, the family battled the federal government for years after the EPA claimed the family was in violation of the Clean Water Act and fined them over $40 million for trying to build a house on their own land.

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15 Comments

  1. Who give the epa the power to do anything.they need to quit acting like gangsters.people are trying to take care of them selves the goverment is to busy kissing other countries and not taking care of their own.

    • Come on, whether we’re libertarian, conservative, progressive, anarchist, or whatever… how can anyone think it’s reasonable for one individual to fundamentally change a stream? What about everyone downstream? Including the wildlife? Through waterways have always been regarded and regulated differently than standing water. One cannot “own” a stream no more than one can own the air over his/her property. I despise our dictatorial nanny-state government. But the one power I would grant government is to protect the environment. It can’t be trusted to individuals… they will not act in the public interest.

      • Except you forgot to mention the fellow had all the permits and paperwork from the State. 10th Amend. and all that. The guy had the permits and he did what the state asked.
        Nice to be a troll for the government, HUH?

      • I can see your point, except – the government lays claim to multiple sites where they own/control air rights – so they are basically claiming ownership of the sky, and the very air we breathe. Between trying to grab rights to land, water, air, gun rights, education, ignoring the constitution…where does it stop? How about when the gov’t quits selling us out to foreign interests for starters. We are the ones that have to tell the government (which is supposedly working for us, but is actually trying to control us), where the line in the sand is drawn. I applaud the Bundy’s and the Johnson’s for standing up for their legal and constitutional rights.

        • The government doesn’t claim “ownership of the air” anymore than anyone else does. If anything, the government regulates travel in the air (I think that’s what your eluding to), and they also enforce national borders. That’s why we currently don’t have Russian bombers and North Korean missiles flying over our heads today, or why all those thousands of commercial and tens of thousands of private aircraft don’t all collide into each other. And frankly, I think ONLY government could even accomplish this. Stuff like that (and clean air, clean water) has BECOME the business of government because when it was left to individuals and companies, they so badly neglected and abused the environment to the point of poisoning rivers, air, and land time and time again. We still have plenty of clean-up from all that “private environmentalism” – just look up “supersites”, and you’ll get a glimpse of just how bad the problem was and how far we’ve come. We still have quite a ways to go, too – too many people right here in America still can’t drink their own water, and every doctor still recommends only eating ONE FISH per week. Ask yourself: Why?

  2. This is a mean for the government to complete take control of us, food source, water source, firearms, privacy, and so on. We will soon be the subjects and slaves to the government controlled by the wealthy corporations and bankers. We will have means yo fight back soon. We are only living the freedom this country used to have in our minds.

  3. Makes sense. You can’t damn up a moving stream! All life Dow stream ceases to exist! This story is fishy and one sided.

    • Absolutely agree, Rob. It’s one thing to dig a pond for rain water to fill and have a pond. It’s another to dam up a CREEK!!

    • The guy had a permit from the state, he didn’t dam anything. The EPA has no right to jump into a state matter when this guy was permitted and went through all the correct channels

    • Permit in place. None of the business of the federal government.
      You talk like the “creek” (which could be a near lifeless trickle, not a dry fly trout river, guy would never get a state permit if it was a decent stream,don’t you think?)
      So the state biologists, DNR, and Environmental Offices all signed off on the guy, don’t you get it?

  4. Just more Communism. take your land—probably give it to Illegals to build chit shacks to live in & collect free medical & money.

    • This is the way Communism works, they take control of your properties, what you do with your properties. They will change laws to make sure you can’t feed your self by growing plants. They will also control water.

      This way you are not think about the government, you are only think about how to feed your family every day. That is called Communism.

  5. ARE any of you people from WY. ? If not mind your own business and live in your shithole states and leave us in WY. Alone !Every dam has an outflow in it I’ve built and repaired them ..Obviously none of you know shit about them so , keep talking and you’ll be just like Shelia Jackson Lee and certified DUMBASS!

  6. This stuff makes me wonder why my state hasn’t seceded from the U.S. yet. But then they would still be trying to control the state whether it’s theirs or not. Just like Great Britain…from father to son.

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