Any “wetland” can be regulated. The official EPA regulation, which is not even a law passed by Congress, calls a wetland “Waters of the United States” at Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations, section 122.2, but bureaucrats have interpreted it to include:
- Controlling stormwater runoff, or not controlling stormwater runoff.
- Using well water, or not using well water.
But it was intended by Congress to apply to States only for Navigable waters of the United States under the 1966 Clean Water Act.
The regulation 40 CFR 122 is for oil pollution prevention. But they don’t care what authority they really have.
Most regulators consider any puddle that exists for 6 weeks to be a wetland wildlife habitat.
Many stormwater detention ponds, which regulators themselves can determine to be “waters of the United States”, are now wetlands that they claim they can regulate.
They can impose a 100 foot buffer zone around the wetland they required you to build. and keep you out of it even though you own the property. 200 feet if it flows into a river. 328 feet if a beaver is there.
They can, and have, fined people $30,000 for building a backyard deck that casts a shadow onto a wetland. And they think you have a problem if you don’t understand that their stinky pond scum is more important than your property rights. How dare you question that they, not Congress, say that pond scum is somehow regulated under the “Clean Water Act”. (these are the same regulators who don’t want you to flush your toilet because you are using their water.)
Rainwater was an essential right of property ownership. It is the Laws of Nature and the Laws of Nature’s God that entitle the United States to exist, according to the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence. The maxim of law is that Boundary lines extend up to the heavens according to the received law-of-the-land Cujus est solum, ejus est usque ad cœlum. Ownership of soil gives exclusive right to everything which is upon, or above it to an indefinite height. (Blackstone’s Commentary on the Law Book2 page 18, and Book 3 page 217). This is part of the received-law-of-the-land in the United States.
Using rainwater can somehow now be regulated. In Washington State, the same thieves who stole the water rights away from Chief Seattle now have made it illegal for you to collect any of your own rainwater. But there is still some hope. The State Department of Ecology is now considering a proposal that would allow collecting of rainwater for gardening in 19 of the state’s 62 watersheds, but not for anything else.
In 2012 Gary Harrington of rural Eagle Point, Oregon, was sentenced to 30 days in jail and a $1500 fine because three ponds collected rainwater on his 170 acres. He was charged under a 1925 law. The 1925 law doesn’t mention anything about colleting rainwater or snow melt. It said that the city of Medford had rights to “all sources” of water from a nearby creek and it’s tributaries.
According to Oregon water laws, all water is publicly owned. Therefore, anyone who wants to store any type of water on their property must first obtain a permit from state water managers.
Harrington applied for three permits for stormwater retention and snow water runoff on his property. One of the ponds had been on his property for 37 years. The state Water Resources Department approved his permits in 2003, but the state – and a state court — rescinded the permit.
John Pozsgai was sentenced to three years in prison for violating the Clean Water Act. His property floods every year because an illegal dump across the street contained abandoned cars and 1,000 tires that blocked an old 1936 drainage ditch. (The drainage ditch was government approved in 1936). So he bought the land across the street and cleaned up the illegally dumped tires. He was ordered to restore the wetland, which required a mitigation permit. While one agency was delaying his permit, another was suing him, and another charged him with criminal wetland violations.
What happens when you build a pond on your own ranch with full approval of the state? Answer: The EPA fines you $75,000 A DAY. (More…