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.