The Wyoming rancher who was fined $37,500 a day for building a stock pond on his own property has reached a settlement with the EPA. The settlement is a rare win for a common man against a tyrannical government.
His pond was exempt from the Clean Water Act but that didn’t stop the EPA from threatening to fine him into bankruptcy.
The fine reached nearly $20 million before the settlement.
The Pacific Legal Institute took his case.
Johnson had filed for and been granted the appropriate local and state permits to have a stock pond, and stock ponds are specifically excluded from the traditional wording of the Clean Water Act. Despite the pond providing cleaner water than before he put the pond in, the EPA came to the ‘rescue’ and tried to bankrupt the Johnson family because they can.
The Johnsons have reached a settlement which is a win for them in a battle they never should have been confronted with.
Under the settlement, the Johnson family’s pond will remain; they won’t pay any fines; they don’t concede any federal jurisdiction to regulate their pond; and the government won’t pursue any further enforcement actions based on the pond’s construction, Pacific Legal reports.
“You can imagine how terrifying it must be to receive such an order,” said staff attorney Jonathan Wood. “In an instant, Andy Johnson’s future, and that of his children, was thrown into turmoil. Would he be prosecuted? Would he be assessed large fines that, being an ordinary person, would cause his family’s financial ruin? Would the government essentially take control over his property, which was also his home?”
For two years, this family fought and tried to explain to the EPA that the pond was exempt but it fell on deaf ears in the all-powerful agency and he had to sue.
“The settlement provides that Andy will plant willows around the pond and temporarily fence off part of it from livestock,” Wood continued. “Of course, there is some irony in this last provision: The EPA insists this isn’t a stock pond, while their chief concern is how livestock reach it.
Andy Johnson said, “…if we could say anything to the EPA….this was about more than just a pond. This was about a family of good, hard-working Americans that were willing to fight to the end for what they believed in!”
The EPA has been fining and threatening home owners throughout the nation and have looked into docking their pay and going into their savings accounts. They have stolen land from private owners. They do it all without going through congress as an unelected agency of bureaucrats running their own rogue government.
The background story: