Wyoming welder faces $75,000 a day in EPA fines for building pond on his property


Fox News:

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.

Reminds me of a quote from Heinlein’s Notebooks of Lazarus Long:

There are hidden contradictions within the minds of people who “love nature” while deploring the “artificialities” with which “Man has spoiled ‘Nature.” The obvious contradiction lies in their choice of words, which imply that Man and his artifacts are not part of “Nature”–but beavers and their dams are. But the contradictions go deeper than this prima-facie absurdity. In declaring his love for a beaver dam (erected by beavers for beaver’s purposes) and his hatred for dams erected by men (for the purpose of men) the “Naturist” reveals his hatred for his own race–i.e., his own self-hatred.

I can tell you from experience that beavers can dam a creek and create a pond in a very short time. When I was a kid I worked on the highway dept. there was a 9 foot wide culvert they repeatedly targeted.


Talk about tyranny (wow $75K/day fine) …
saw this at fox and considered posting it myself.
The only thing that bothers me though is that in the northwest corner of Wyoming lies the Yellowstone caldera and I wouldn’t want anyone doing anything to disturb that …

the thought of ground water seeping down and causing steam pressure crossed my mind.



Welcome to the Obama version of the EPA.


Looks like the EPA doesnt have enough to do. Maybe they have too many people and need to downsize.



Agreed. Anytime an organization engages in tyranny, it is time to gut it and spend the money on something more useful, like not spending money at all. We are selling our country to China for this???


How about they first send the owner a letter stating that the pond must be removed if negative consequences of the pond are detected?


Hopefully this story spreads like wildfire and I hope 100s if not 1000s of people show up on the courthouse steps in protest to how the govt is treating this family. People need to stick together and learn to fight back against tyrannical Govts, this is our duty as american citizens, says it right in our constitution!


He built a damn without getting the appropriate permits. He should pay the fines, and correct his mistake.



Try building a damn without permission in Texas.:smiley:



I have never built a dam, but my relatives have built a pond on their own property which involved diverting water for a while. I have done many things on my property without permission that some government agency or another would say I needed permission to do. I still believe freedom is a greater good than tyranny. If this pond infringes on the rights of others, which is only speculative at this point, then I understand the need for intervention. However, I also know that bureaucracy exists for its own sake and feeds itself to make itself fat. Even if this infringes on no one else, there are those with power that will wield it like a club over the weak. Thus, we have the EPA.


If he damned a creek that was flowing through his tiny bit of land, I think he could reasonably see somebody having a problem with that. Did he think that nobody lived downstream of him? Most anybody who lives in the west knows how contentious water rights can be.


That’s is not a very enlightened response. Tyranny really?



I remember a time in my youth when anti-war protestors would stage sit-ins, occupy college buildings, etc. Seems to me like the EPA has office buildings. :shrug:

Of course, the consequences would be having Lois Lerner types on your case.



This is just cause imo because, yes, even in my small state where folks don’t have municipal sewage and waste drainage and they need to install their own septic systems and even need well water, local housing may still be dependent on a small stream for drainage to help keep ground water clean;

However, you folks out west must be rolling in money because I would have to sell my house and pay off my mortgage first and then I might afford one day of fine at “$75K/day”;
And so imho that still justifies use of the word tyranny.

A fine of $1000/day or even $5K/day would be sufficient imo.



It is more logical than just responding with an insult devoid of explanation. Tend to your beam, please.


What explanation is necessary? :shrug:


Fines of this nature are typically assessed based on the harm done to the environment.

I think as he fights this in court his fines may be adjusted. Perhaps to the range you suggest.



How else do you expect them to finance their tyranny?
There is, after all, a $650 billion deficit, a $17 trillion budget debt, and tens of trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities. By charging such a high fee, they not only have the funds needed to squash the next American of their choosing, but they also get to confiscate the land for fines not paid. Its a win, win, win for them. :thumbsup:



Well, for one, if I am “unenlightened” then it would be good to explain where the light is needed. I happen to believe that the best government is the least government. I happen to believe that liberty to do with one’s own property and possessions good things should only be limited when they infringe upon the same rights of another. You may not hold such an opinion and desire a government that will control everyone in the name of whatever beliefs you hold. That does not make you more enlightened. Taking one’s own opinion as light and another’s as dark is hubris. So perhaps you think you are so witty and enlightened for one line insults. I believe light is better shown in truth and charity.


Here is the actual filing

From reading about the case it does appear to be a case of an individual infringing on the private property rights of others, his neighbors just downstream of him. The man in the case applied for, and was granted, a permit to build a stock pond on his property. What he didn’t have the right to do was take the dredge from his pond and build a dam to divert a navigable creek. If he wanted water for his pond, he should have bought it rather than diverting a creek and sending silt and dredge down to his neighbors.

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