The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Water Act continues to threaten farmers and ranchers, but it just suffered a big loss in the courtroom.
Andy Johnson, a Wyoming rancher, officially settled his $20 million lawsuit with the EPA, which had accused Johnson of violating the Clean Water Act—the EPA’s new way of regulating various U.S. waterways. His offense? Johnson built a small stock pond on his property to hydrate surrounding trees and wildlife. The EPA alleged that the pond harmed the environment, even though it actually provided a habitat for migratory birds and fish—not to mention water for Johnson’s horses—and stood in accordance with state and local permits. Johnson even commissioned a report from environmental experts showing the pond carried numerous environmental benefits, which the EPA initially brushed aside.
And the agency’s allegation came with $37,500 per day in fines, ultimately adding up to $20 million by the time a settlement was reached. $20 million just for building a pond on your own property.
Johnson isn’t alone: Farmers and ranchers across the country have become victims of the EPA’s intrusive agenda, which subjects property owners to harsh environmental regulations. One California farmer, for example, is now facing a lengthy legal battle for putting “clean water” in jeopardy. How did he do it? By plowing his own land.
Fortunately for Andy Johnson—whose pond was exempted from EPA overreach—the agency is still not above the law.