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(Opposing Views)   Man fined $75,000 per day for building something on his own property that he got a permit to build   (opposingviews.com) divider line 223
    More: Strange, EPA, Wyoming, ponds  
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21959 clicks; posted to Main » on 21 Mar 2014 at 5:12 PM (18 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-21 05:50:05 PM

DarkSoulNoHope: James!: violentsalvation: James!: You can't go around damming waterways, citizen.

please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to

The EPA is not interested in your scrubs.

[31.media.tumblr.com image 245x170]

/"Come on! You don't say 'Creep Creep' unless your quoting TLC."


I ain't too proud to beg.
 
2014-03-21 05:50:47 PM
We were accused of this about 15 years ago - we had been digging a giant hole since we needed a bunch of fill dirt (and we thought a pond might be nice someday in the future), but a storm cause the nearby creek to divert into our new "pond". Someone complained and EPA came out to investigate. PAIN in the rear.

We got out of any fines because we had the permits for the hole and it was obvious that the stream had diverted naturally, so we actually received permission to re-divert the creek until we were done with our hole and then divert it back into the hole afterwards. Woot!
 
2014-03-21 05:50:53 PM

stevejovi: tricycleracer: 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.

Should have just hired some undocumented Canadian beavers to build it for him.

[www.benzworld.org image 198x134]

Yeah, I vote for that.


Had no idea beavers had such big lips.
 
2014-03-21 05:51:40 PM
The EPA is telling my dad to break down an earth dam that was built by the wpa, which forms a pond just big enough to water our cattle. My dad will ignore the EPA until they start threatening big money. Fighting something till you go bankrupt is not smart.
 
2014-03-21 05:51:48 PM

rynthetyn: Dude had a permit to build a stock pond. Damming a creek is a different matter altogether.


Damming a creek is a different matter.
 
2014-03-21 05:51:52 PM

Doryphore: violentsalvation: James!: You can't go around damming waterways, citizen.

please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to

I know that you're gonna have it your way or nothing at all,

However, the EPA thinks you're moving too fast.

 
2014-03-21 05:52:43 PM
I mean it's not like he put a breast cancer awareness ribbon in there.
 
2014-03-21 05:52:51 PM

Bondith: macadamnut: My wife and I built the pond together. We put our blood, sweat and tears into it.

I'm not surprised the EPA got involved.

Putting water into it would have been a lot easier.


Or semen. What?
 
2014-03-21 05:55:16 PM

mbillips: Somehow, I doubt this is just a pond that fills from rainfall on his land. If it's a waterway, you can't just dam it up and waste most of it through evaporation in order to give your horsies and duckies a drink, and afford your grandchildren an opportunity to drown. Wyoming averages only about 22 inches of rainfall a year; downstream water rights are a big farking deal. This might be just a bureaucratic SNAFU by the EPA, but it very well might not be, too.


Well, and the article says that the property owner claims to have a letter exempting him. Seems that should be easy to prove. Either the state has been given the authority to handle this and have given him the permit he needs or they haven't.
 
2014-03-21 05:56:59 PM

Shostie: I ain't too proud to beg.


Please don't leave me, baby. Don't you go.
 
2014-03-21 05:57:37 PM
Unfortunate, but the truth is that nobody really has their "own property."  Every scrap of land belongs to the government, and "ownership" is more like a bizarre stewardship wherein you pay taxes for the privilege of maintaining it for them.

People who think their "property" is a little kingdom of freedom from the government have no idea of reality.
 
2014-03-21 05:58:38 PM

Ambitwistor: I guess what's unclear here is whether the EPA is wrong for saying that he needed an ACE permit, or Wyoming State Engineer is wrong for saying that his permit was sufficient.


The state engineer probably erred.  I didn't even know a person could get a permit to damn a creek up like this guy claims to have done.

We did have a similar case near me, where a couple dammed up a creek and did what they dubbed "restorative work" to sections of the creek.  It cost the state a lot of money to fix the problems they introduced.

Can't remember if they got the permits though.  This was years ago too.
 
2014-03-21 05:58:55 PM

Boloxor the Insipid: People saying you can't just damn up a waterway are not paying attention.  In fact, you can do so if you have a permit.  This guy got a permit.  He did everything he could possibly do to make a legitimate stock pond.

I suspect that most people have never been to Wyoming.  The idea that the Federal government has any interest in a duck pond in Wyoming is zero.  This guy is just caught in the middle of politics he has no control over.


Yeah, it's not like waterways start there or anything.
 
2014-03-21 05:59:07 PM
According to the Fox News story

Everything beyond these words is inconsequential.
 
2014-03-21 05:59:07 PM
"This goes a lot further than a pond," he said. "It's about a person's rights. I have three little kids. I am not going to roll over and let [the government] tell me what I can do on my land.

DAMN RIGHT!

I followed the rules."

Oh, so you let the government tell you what you can do on your land.
 
2014-03-21 05:59:17 PM
Landowner - I want to build a pond and dam a waterway and discharge water elsewhere on my property.

Government - OK, you can build a pond.

Government - Wait, your pond is fine. We got issues with the other stuff you did.

Landowner - But, but... I got a permit. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh.
 
2014-03-21 06:00:52 PM
This is why people who don't live in an HOA protected community deserve what they get!


/or something
 
2014-03-21 06:02:22 PM
I finally found it, and I completely had the story crossed up.  I hate it when that happens.

The problem wasn't they put in the dams, they wanted to take the dams a former owner had put in.

http://www.longtom.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/OwensCr_RGarticle_ 07 1807.pdf
 
2014-03-21 06:03:16 PM

James!: You had a permit, but not the right permit.


This.  He was allowed to create the pond, he wasn't allowed to dam the creek to provide water for it.
 
2014-03-21 06:04:59 PM

jst3p: This is why people who don't live in an HOA protected community deserve what they get!


/or something


That's what I thought this was about after just reading the headline, and was ready for all kinds of HOA hatred, but then I RTFA...
 
2014-03-21 06:05:09 PM
While I work for a local government (environmental) agency back east, I do admit that the permitting process can be arduous. Between the county, state, and feds, you may be right with one but not the others, and the onus is on the property owner.
 
2014-03-21 06:05:10 PM
$75,000 per day

I am amused.
 
2014-03-21 06:05:27 PM
I love reading stories from OpposingViews because they are totally unbiased.
 
2014-03-21 06:06:50 PM
Hmmm... the Feds have the ultimate authority over "navigable waterways", which, under Federal law are defined as being waterways 3ft deep or deeper, and Congress has delegated authority over "navigable waterways" to the Army Corps of Engineers. *If* the stream in question is in that category, then Wyoming has to have permission from the ACE to grant permits to block said waterways, and also probably has to inform the ACE of such blockages. And the ACE will probably ask for an Environmental Impact Statement on said blockage that says, when all is said and done "No impact", before telling the state to allow said blockage. And good luck with getting the EPA to approve a blockage. If the state of Wyoming issued a permit, there were probably conditions attached that were not followed somewhere which is what is bringing the EPA down on these people.
 
2014-03-21 06:07:19 PM
Anybody looking to post in this thread, please review:

dam = a structure that restricts water flow in order to create a reservoir, or the act of creating such a structure.

damn = what God does to you when you misuse the word "damn" to mean "dam."

Thank you.
 
2014-03-21 06:08:13 PM

Arcturus72: jst3p: This is why people who don't live in an HOA protected community deserve what they get!


/or something

That's what I thought this was about after just reading the headline, and was ready for all kinds of HOA hatred, but then I RTFA...


There is a better joke to be made, but it isn't coming to me.
 
2014-03-21 06:10:19 PM

jst3p: "This goes a lot further than a pond," he said. "It's about a person's rights. I have three little kids. I am not going to roll over and let [the government] tell me what I can do on my land.

DAMN RIGHT!

I followed the rules."

Oh, so you let the government tell you what you can do on your land.


And probably one of those people that works kids/parenting into everything like it's a badge of entitlement.
 
2014-03-21 06:10:20 PM

Bit'O'Gristle: oops..wrong thread...can the mods move this to the "backpack" thread please...thanks.


Nah, let's bully you for a bit first.  Can we get a mod to make all of his posts in pink for a day?
 
2014-03-21 06:11:52 PM
Based on the article, I have a lot of sympathy.  But so far, we're only hearing his side of the story.

There are some very good reasons why you can't just build a dam anyplace you want, even if you own the property.  As to the "I have a permit", I could get a permit to build a house, but that wouldn't give me the right to damn up the nearby creek.  That permit may not say exactly what he wants us to think it says.  It may be issued by someone without authority.  It may have limitations which he isn't meeting.

To me, the #1 thing is "is it doing any harm".  If his damn is keeping water away from people downstream, that's an issue.  If it's unsafe, that's an issue.  If it is somehow actually causing ecological harm (fertilizer runoff?  I dunno) then that might be an issue.  If there is no actual harm, then I'm all in favor of leaving him alone.

I'm hoping I hear more about this story once both sides come out.
 
2014-03-21 06:13:59 PM

boyvoyeur: Landowner - I want to build a pond and dam a waterway and discharge water elsewhere on my property.

State Government - OK, you can build a pond.

Federal Government - Wait, your pond is fine. We got issues with the other stuff you did damning of a creek you do not own, and that your pond water and runoff is going into other waterways that you also do not own

Landowner - But, but... I got a thought my permit was carte blanche. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh.


FTFY
He rants on about rights and other right-wing talking points, neglecting that those around him have the right to not be affected by his "dream" pond.
 
2014-03-21 06:15:04 PM

the_sidewinder: FTFA: "I am not going to roll over and let [the government] tell me what I can do on my land. I followed the rules."


Favorite line in the article. I am sympathetic the the guy and hope that this all resolves in his favor, but those two phrases, side by side, are very funny


I was thinking the same thing.
 
2014-03-21 06:15:29 PM
What a man-made pond might look like in Wyoming:

http://www.ksl.com/?sid=29144010&nid=148
 
2014-03-21 06:15:56 PM

Whatchoo Talkinbout: stevejovi: tricycleracer: 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.

Should have just hired some undocumented Canadian beavers to build it for him.

[www.benzworld.org image 198x134]

Yeah, I vote for that.

Had no idea beavers had such big lips.


Is this a Furry thing?  Go back to fchan!
 
2014-03-21 06:19:27 PM
ClavellBCMI:
Hmmm... the Feds have the ultimate authority over "navigable waterways", which, under Federal law are defined as being waterways 3ft deep or deeper, and Congress has delegated authority over "navigable waterways" to the Army Corps of Engineers.

It's better than that.

The EPA has decided (with a suggested rule change) that any land which has water flowing over it, ever, is a "waterway" or a "wetland," and that they should have jurisdiction over it. Which means, effectively, every piece of land in the US. They decided to go about this by deciding that ditches and puddles less than three feet deep are "connected to navigable waterways." Even when they aren't. Maybe they're connected spiritually or something.

So when that rainwater from your roof flows into the low spot in the back yard, you're suddenly dealing with a "wetland" that's connected to a "navigable waterway."
 
2014-03-21 06:21:05 PM

severedtoe: don't even think of messing with any existing waterway.  Chances are, the US cops of engineers has jurisdiction over it and they don't want any of your nonsense.

if you want a stock tank, fill it with tap water.  You'll save in the long run.


As much as the idea of a pond or creek on my property sounds nice, I would never buy such a house just because I know the headaches that can follow.

My buddy's land has really poor drainage...just a regular suburban lot with a muddy lawn. I'm waiting for the day the EPA declares it wetlands.
 
2014-03-21 06:21:17 PM

Gecko Gingrich: Trebuchet?

Please be a trebuchet.


No. Just a dyke.
 
2014-03-21 06:22:55 PM
Oh, I am so tired of hearing this stupid story splattered everywhere about this guy and his f*cking pond.
 
2014-03-21 06:24:08 PM

ElLoco: What a man-made pond might look like in Wyoming:

http://www.ksl.com/?sid=29144010&nid=148


He's farked.
 
2014-03-21 06:25:01 PM

mbillips: Boloxor the Insipid: I suspect that most people have never been to Wyoming.

Truer words were never spoken. Because, really, why would you?

/Yeah, yeah, I know. Yellowstone. Been there, saw the geyser.


And Jackson Hole.
 
2014-03-21 06:26:56 PM

iheartscotch: Didn't some guy get his property taken by the EPA for clearing a deadfall that was blocking a ditch?

/ sounds like the guy did his due diligence; but, didn't pay off the EPA guy with beer and steak


Well, the article(s)haven't made it clear if he had the permits to dam a river or if the river he dammed has been undammed. Or if he had a permit to dammit all. Man bad pun.
 
2014-03-21 06:29:42 PM

ClavellBCMI: Hmmm... the Feds have the ultimate authority over "navigable waterways", which, under Federal law are defined as being waterways 3ft deep or deeper, and Congress has delegated authority over "navigable waterways" to the Army Corps of Engineers. *If* the stream in question is in that category, then Wyoming has to have permission from the ACE to grant permits to block said waterways, and also probably has to inform the ACE of such blockages. And the ACE will probably ask for an Environmental Impact Statement on said blockage that says, when all is said and done "No impact", before telling the state to allow said blockage. And good luck with getting the EPA to approve a blockage. If the state of Wyoming issued a permit, there were probably conditions attached that were not followed somewhere which is what is bringing the EPA down on these people.


States are typically delegated authority to permit and regulate water quality and discharge.  Modification to Waters of the U.S., such as modifying the creek, generally remains the jurisdiction of the USACE.  He probably needs to file what's call a Joint Permit Application to document the project, which is then routed to the USACE and any other stakeholder agencies.
 
2014-03-21 06:30:02 PM

Ambitwistor: I guess what's unclear here is whether the EPA is wrong for saying that he needed an ACE permit, or Wyoming State Engineer is wrong for saying that his permit was sufficient.


It was probably sufficient for what he asked for, not necessarily what he used it for
 
2014-03-21 06:31:43 PM

dkulprit: iheartscotch: Didn't some guy get his property taken by the EPA for clearing a deadfall that was blocking a ditch?

/ sounds like the guy did his due diligence; but, didn't pay off the EPA guy with beer and steak

Well, the article(s)haven't made it clear if he had the permits to dam a river or if the river he dammed has been undammed. Or if he had a permit to dammit all. Man bad pun.


A bad pun at FARK is like premature ejaculation: you know it's coming, and there's nothing you can do to stop it.

Besides, if you hadn't, I would have.
 
2014-03-21 06:33:05 PM

dstrick44: Boloxor the Insipid: People saying you can't just damn up a waterway are not paying attention.  In fact, you can do so if you have a permit.  This guy got a permit.  He did everything he could possibly do to make a legitimate stock pond.

I suspect that most people have never been to Wyoming.  The idea that the Federal government has any interest in a duck pond in Wyoming is zero.  This guy is just caught in the middle of politics he has no control over.

With no Corps permit and untreated water leaving his property he's probably screwed.
When you're dealing with existing water bodies and making changes to the watershed you need multiple permits.
He should have hired a civil engineer.
The he would at least have someone to blame


I agree with you.    You probably would need several permits and any time in this current era you are dealing with water you would need help to stay in bounds.

Granted with Opposing Views website we get almost no correct information.    But the guy is probably screwed.    "I went and got me a dang permit ! "  isn't really a defense for anything these days.
 
2014-03-21 06:34:25 PM
Well, he's welcome to try and track down the water that was on his property the moment he signed the papers to become the owner.
 
2014-03-21 06:34:54 PM
My guess is that he couldn't meet the requirements in time and at $75k a day, his only hope was to fight it or else he'd go bankrupt.
 
2014-03-21 06:35:36 PM

dkulprit: iheartscotch: Didn't some guy get his property taken by the EPA for clearing a deadfall that was blocking a ditch?

/ sounds like the guy did his due diligence; but, didn't pay off the EPA guy with beer and steak

Well, the article(s)haven't made it clear if he had the permits to dam a river or if the river he dammed has been undammed. Or if he had a permit to dammit all. Man bad pun.


The one ElLoco linked did.

""I acquired a stock pond reservoir permit," Johnson said.

He had a permit to build a pond, but makes no mention if he had the permits to divert or dam a creek running through his property.

Water rights is serious business, especially out west.
 
2014-03-21 06:35:37 PM

meat0918: ElLoco: What a man-made pond might look like in Wyoming:

http://www.ksl.com/?sid=29144010&nid=148

He's farked.


FWIW... I think I've found the guy's house on Googlemaps. It looks like there's maybe 3 miles of headwater prior to the pond, tops, and if the creek was running full bore under a lot of snow melt, it would almost be too wide to hop across.

Also, across the road, there's a much larger man-made pond with a much larger dam on a decent sized (different) waterway sourced by miles of multiple branching tributaries... maybe half a mile or so away from his.
 
2014-03-21 06:36:17 PM

dkulprit: iheartscotch: Didn't some guy get his property taken by the EPA for clearing a deadfall that was blocking a ditch?

/ sounds like the guy did his due diligence; but, didn't pay off the EPA guy with beer and steak

Well, the article(s)haven't made it clear if he had the permits to dam a river or if the river he dammed has been undammed. Or if he had a permit to dammit all. Man bad pun.


Here in MI if you use a backhoe to clear beach grasses you could go to jail, I can't imagine what they would do to you if you dammed a waterway. I have to imagine the only way you get that permit (a dam) is if there is a hydroelectric generator or 20 in the mix as well.
 
2014-03-21 06:37:44 PM

mbillips: Somehow, I doubt this is just a pond that fills from rainfall on his land. If it's a waterway, you can't just dam it up and waste most of it through evaporation in order to give your horsies and duckies a drink, and afford your grandchildren an opportunity to drown. Wyoming averages only about 22 inches of rainfall a year; downstream water rights are a big farking deal. This might be just a bureaucratic SNAFU by the EPA, but it very well might not be, too.


CoE was intended to support NAVIGABLE water ways...like most government functions, the CoE and EPA aren't content with their current calling and are constantly seeking to do more and more.   The courts have repeatedly biatch slapped them down multiple times for getting involved in creeks and streams that aren't able to be utilized for military or commercial water transportation.
 
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