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Wyoming Rancher Beats EPA In Pond Fight


Wyoming rancher Andy Johnson talks about his lawsuit against EPA, in news conference in Cheyenne (Photo courtesy Pacific Justice Foundation)
Wyoming rancher Andy Johnson talks about his lawsuit against the EPA, in a news conference in Cheyenne, Wyoming – (Photo courtesy Pacific Justice Foundation)

This article comes from

by Bob Unruh

A Wyoming rancher threatened by the Environmental Agency with $16 million fines for getting a state permit and building a stock pond on his ranch has reached a settlement that will have the fines go away and he’ll keep his stock pond.

WND reported in 2015 on a lawsuit filed on behalf of Fort Bridger, Wyoming, rancher Andy Johnson by officialsl with the Pacific Legal Foundation seeking to vindicate his property rights.

The lawsuit explained federal law clearly exempts stock ponds from the rules of the EPA, which had filed a compliance order against him threatening $37,500 in fines per day – which already at the time of the filing had passed $16 million.

Now, officials the PLF has announced the federal government has agreed to resolve the case, and a federal court has approved.

“Importantly, under the settlement, the Johnson family’s pond will remain; they won’t pay any fines; they don’t concede any federal jurisdiction to regulate their pond; and the government won’t pursue any further enforcement actions based on the pond’s construction,” the legal team revealed.

“This is a victory for common sense and the environment, and it brings an end to all the uncertainty and fear that the Johnson family faced,” said Jonathan Wood, a staff attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation.

The fight began in 2013 when Johnson, under a legitimate state permit, built the stock pond to provide safer, more reliable access to water for his small herd.

Ray Kagel, a former federal regulator, explained how the pond proved to be a benefit to the environment. It created wetlands, habitat for fish and wildlife, and cleans the water that passes through it.

The federal government responded with its threats of fines.

Johnson tried to reason with the government, without success, so he filed the action that points out “stock ponds” are expressly exempted from the Clean Water Act.

“This settlement is a win for the Johnson family, and a win for the environment,” said Wood. “Under it, the Johnsons will pay no fine. They will not lose their property. They will not have to agree to federal jurisdiction or a federal permit, which would have surely entailed onerous conditions. In effect, the government will treat the pond as an exempt stock pond, in exchange for Andy further improving on the environmental benefits he has already created.

“The settlement provides that Andy will plant willows around the pond and temporarily fence off part of it from livestock. Of course, there is some irony in this last provision: The EPA insists this isn’t a stock pond, while their chief concern is how livestock reach it.”

Johnson, in a statement released by PLF, said, “This is a huge victory for us as well as private property owners across the country. The next family that finds itself in our situation, facing ominous threats from EPA, can take heart in knowing that many of these threats will not come to pass. If, like us, you stand up to the overreaching bureaucrats, they may very well back down.”


Shorty Dawkins



  1. This case began before the EPA’s ‘Waters of the United States’ (WOTUS) regulations were codified into law. Look for this tyrannical federal overreach to go into overdrive if Clinton or the Socialist are elected. And the Republicans aren’t much better. They’re the ones that have allowed it to get this far.

    1. @Elmo,
      It is the responsibility of the people to reign in the government. We cannot expect them to restore their own sanity.

      1. And since the political elite are almost never held accountable for unethical or illegal actions, it’s difficult to imagine how the American people will be able to REIN in the REIGNing elites.

        Revolution was possible in the past because everyone was armed with the same weapons; for instance in the French Revolution, both the government and the French people had the same weapons.

        Today it would not be possible for the American people to win a shooting match against submarines, aircraft carriers, jet fighters, bombers, tanks, and yes, possibly nuclear weapons.

        I’m not sure how we can exert mind control against them, either, unless millions of minds concentrate together on the same goal at designated times.

        We’ve also got another problem; we are being forced to expend our resources in the effort to straighten things out. There is a limit to what we can donate to worthwhile organizations, and to what we can spend buying survival supplies and ammunition, before we are unable to pay for food and shelter. I’m sure the Evil Ones are well aware that the people are going to hit a well sooner or later.

      2. You said, “I’m not sure how we can exert mind control against them, either, unless millions of minds concentrate together on the same goal at designated times.”

        I am one who agrees with you about the power of united Minds. Our war is spiritual, which means the battleground is the Mind of Man. Thank you for reading here and leaving your comments.
        Elias Alias, editor

  2. Thank God the terrorizing of this family is over.For now anyway as we all know these thugs will be back some how some way.The only problem i see is why did they have to go to the state for a permit in the first place? If it was indeed their property then they should do as they please as long as no damage to anyone else occurred.No?

  3. This is a very important story, and will have ripple-effect for others who are right now facing similar threats to their property. I am very glad to see this.
    Elias Alias, editor

  4. These issues remain:

    1) There shouldn’t have been a necessity to defend against the Gov’t in the first place
    2) The cost to defend your Constitutional Rights…who pays/who benefits (i.e., attorneys of all stripes)
    3) They still have to comply with “a gov’t agreement/settlement”…where’s the liberty in that?

    I don’t see this as a win for the American Citizen…if anything it will perpetuate more of the same by Gov’t…they lost nothing; their budget will grow to bring more of these types cases and the judicial industry will grow…the opportunity cost of our monetary resources sunk for more of this BS will not bode well.

    Question: How much did this cost “all” involved…I’d like to see the total $ resources that were expended by: rancher; legal foundation; courts; govt agency? Then tell me how the “citizen” won…when we all bear these costs on society. It’s a win/win for the traitors to want to bankrupt western civilization by directing massive amounts of resources into something that generates no return for those who “pay the price” of an “out of control” gov’t.

  5. This is just a small bump in the road for unelected government entities. They will just write new rules to encompass all previous litigations.
    They are have all the money they need and of course the farmers and ranchers will be cash strapped.

    1. Yes, our taxpayer dollars are at the government’s disposal to oppress and terrorize us. Then they use those same taxpayer dollars to defend themselves against us when we challenge them.

  6. This is one of the reasons for our mission. We need to reach, teach and inspire our fellows to wrestle back their runaway government. We have for too long sat by idlely and allowed the politicos to steal our government. We the People limit OUR government with OUR Constitution. See our Political Action Network,

  7. I had 4 secret service come to my home about 4 years ago to shut my mouth– one showed me a badge fast and pulled it away fast. I don’t know if they were who they say they were , but they sure questioned me. when they were leaving , I told the one that was questioning me , I wouldn’t shut my mouth,– his response was– just don’t threaten him again and we wouldn’t be back.–
    people these clowns are the worse of clowns in the white house don’t vote them in again

  8. The problem here is that there is nothing to prevent EPA from doing this sort of thing again, and as many times as they like (how many times have they already done it successfully?). Most people just don’t have the courage, or the resources to fight the government in court, and will comply, rather than take the chance of being financially ruined.

    1. Uhm-hmm. I’m bettin’ you thought you had caught me napping, eh? 😉

      Thanks to Nancy of Idaho Oath Keepers and Shari of Redoubt News for this one.
      I’m not sure yet what I can do to help Joe, but I’m darned sure looking into it. This one needs to be raised to the top of the flag pole, and very assertively splashed all over the country.

      Thanks, ele.
      Elias Alias, editor

  9. Some estimates of the future USA population in 100 years approached ONE BILLION people due to excessive legal and illegal immigration. If you think the screws are tightening now the future will be one of increasing governmental control as the population is packed in. Toss in the oft-ignored negative aspects of the immense scam referred to as diversity and multiculturalism and the huge horde of bickering non-united masses of common folks will ease the efforts of the few to lord over the many.

    Divide and conquer is the fate for our children as the oligarchy embeds itself so firmly that the Founders Great Experiment will have been nullified.

  10. Typical situation of un-needed government bureaucrats with too much time on their hands that they have to invent or find things to regulate. It’s a way to appear to justify their jobs.

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