His crime? Building a firebreak ditch and some ponds on his Montana property.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order targeting a major Obama-era policy expanding federal authority over bodies of water. “Let’s start hiring those people, fellas,” Trump said before signing the order while surrounded by federal lawmakers and county officials. Trump ordered federal agencies to make sure “waters are kept free from pollution, while at the same time promoting economic growth, minimizing regulatory uncertainty” and respecting the role of states and Congress. Trump also ordered agencies to define “navigable waters” in a “manner consistent with the opinion of Justice Antonin Scalia in Rapanos v. United States” — a more narrow interpretation of [...]
In a 21st century replay of the biblical battle between David and Goliath, Wyoming rancher Andy Johnson felled the most powerful regulatory giant in the country, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
EPA has made a lot of power grabs of dubious legality over the last year, from forcing unpopular regulations through over the objections of Congress to illegally using social media to promote Obama’s policies. So without further ado, here are the top 5 EPA attempts to grab power through quasi-legal means.
Wyoming farmer Andy Johnson is the unlikely target of an EPA vendetta -- facing tens of millions of dollars in fines for daring to build a stock pond -- which the Clean Water Act specifically bars the agency from regulating -- on his property after obtaining all the required state permits. Meanwhile, the agency is facing no penalties at all for its massive spill of metals-laden water into the Animas River in New Mexico.
The EPA, claiming authority under the Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA ) of 1996, says it will adopt on August 1 a new rule that “will allow the EPA to garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order.” Robert Gordon explains how this is both wrong and dangerous.
WOTUS gives untrustworthy federal bureaucrats custody of every watershed, creates crushing new power to coerce all who keep America going and offers no benefit to the victimized and demoralized tax-paying public.
Ron Arnold details the story of how industry, environmentalists, and regulators are working together to overcome a paradoxical EPA rule that allows PCBs in products but bans the disposal of wastewater containing PCB residues. This story, sadly, is atypical of today's EPA, especially as it applies to energy and water issues.
Having spent years collecting data on the condition of rivers and streams, and found these bodies of water needing additional “protection’ and “restoration,” the agency is making the case for action under the Clean Water Act (CWA). This four-decade-old statute already gives EPA vast powers to impose new regulations – none of them requiring the consent of Congress.