U.S. Navy veteran Joe Robertson, a 78-year old veteran, was convicted in 2015 of defying the Federal government through the Clean Water Act. He built stock ponds on his property to ward off forest fires. Robertson was convicted and imprisoned. The disabled veteran was facing life in prison and forfeiture of his property. His final sentence was 18 months in prison and a $130,000 fine to be taken out of his Social Security checks.
Mr. Robertson was thrown into solitary confinement while in prison and had his belongings stolen by guards, he said.
The Obama Justice Department prosecuted U.S. Navy veteran Joe Robertson for digging stock ponds on his Montana property that he knew would help him hold back forest fires, The Daily Signal reported.
The 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals affirmed the ruling the following year.
The disabled Navy veteran of Basin, Montana, and his wife, Carri, own about 200 acres of beautiful Montana mountain land.
Due to multiple fires in the area over the past several years, Robertson has maintained and improved his property by building stock ponds for his animals and fire prevention for his and the neighbor properties.
But, he has also battled with the government, by way of the Forest Service and the EPA, for years. The harassment by the government began over a decade ago, he said. They had originally complained that he was not allowed to repair the road that leads to his private property. This came to a head in 2013 when they charged this disabled veteran for violation of the Clean Water Act.
The government contends that nine stock ponds affect approximately one-tenth (1/10) of an acre of discharged pollutants into the Jefferson River, nearly 60 miles away. THAT WAS A STRETCH AND CONTRIVED!
The out of control and fascist Environmental Protection Agency decided the Montanan was in violation of the Clean Water Act when he constructed small fire protection ponds fed by a narrow channel on his property.
“The EPA said the ditch was a federally protected commercial waterway under the Clean Water Act and required a federal permit — even though his land is 40 miles from the nearest navigable waterway,” the PLF said.
Robertson lived deep in the Montana woods at the edge of a national forest, which is an area increasingly prone to wildfires.
“Joe and his wife ran a fire fighting support truck business, and he knew that protecting his property depended on a better water supply,” the PLF said. “So in 2013 and 2014 he dug some small ponds in and around the channel, so that multiple water trucks could fill up.”
The first trial was held last year and ended in a hung jury. The second trial ended in a conviction.
Robertson, 80, died unexpectedly of a stroke in March of this year, while he was still on probation for the Clean Water Act conviction and his case was on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
His widow has taken up his case. There is still a lien on his property.
THE CURRENT CASE
The Pacific Legal Foundation, which represented Robertson is now representing his wife.
The Supreme Court of the United States will hear the case
Having lost at the federal district court level and in the 9th Circuit, the PLF appealed its client’s case to the U.S. Supreme Court last November.
The high court granted Robertson’s petition for review earlier this month. It vacated the 9th Circuit’s ruling and has ordered the appeals court to determine whether Robertson’s estate can contest the fine.
PLF senior attorney Tony Francois wrote in The Hill that Robertson still owed much of the $130,000 fine at the time of his death.
The PLF said in a statement following the April 15 ruling that “clearly the Justices felt the Ninth Circuit’s decision was erroneous, or they wouldn’t have granted Joe’s petition, or vacated the Ninth Circuit’s decision, after his untimely death.”
“The Supreme Court wants the Ninth Circuit to confirm whether Joe’s estate has a continuing right to challenge the government’s $130,000 fine,” it said. “The fine was bad enough before Joe died, but now the government can enforce it against his heirs.”
The Daily Signal reported the Trump administration has taken steps to withdraw the Obama-era rule and replace it with one that limits the reach of what’s defined as “navigable waters.” Leftists are fighting the President and leftist judges claim he can’t overturn any of Obama’s rules, not this one, not any.
Obama had taken control of all the water ways in the country, even puddles, with his change in wording in the rule. Now the leftists are saying it can never be changed. These are far-left, unAmerican people who don’t believe in private property.
We’d like to offer our congratulations to the federal government for imprisoning a 78-year-old Navy veteran for the crime of…
— Pacific Legal 🗡⚖️ (@PacificLegal) March 30, 2019