Everybody's a Potential Criminal in the Eyes of the EPA

The Clean Water Act gives way to another round of mission creep.

|

A half-century ago, John Pozsgai emigrated to America from Hungary. Twenty-five years later, he bought a hunk of land in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, that had been used as an illegal dumping ground for used tires and old car parts. Pozsgai wanted to build a garage on the land. So he hauled away the old tires—7,000 of them—and the rusty scrap metal, and hauled in clean fill dirt and topsoil.

No good deed goes unpunished, and Pozsgai's wasn't. Sometimes when it rained, the tires caused water to build up on the property. In the eyes of the federal government, that made it a wetland. Federal agents used surveillance cameras to record Pozsgai's cleanup activity and had him arrested for "discharging pollutants"—i.e., the fill dirt and topsoil—"into the waters of the United States." Convicted, he got a three-year prison sentence and a $200,000 fine.

If federal regulators have their way, America could see a lot more John Pozsgais in its future.

Pozsgai's ordeal was brought about by governmental mission creep. The Clean Water Act of 1972 protected the "navigable waters of the United States and their tributaries." But a series of court cases and bureaucratic decrees expanded the scope of the law to cover non-navigable waters, and even areas of dry land that become inundated after heavy rains or that support "vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated-soil conditions," such poison ivy, maple trees, and other "facultative" plants.

Now, under the Obama administration, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are pushing the envelope again. They have rolled out a new Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act that would apply wetlands regulation to ditches, gullies, and similar places where standing water can accumulate.

Rep. John Mica, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, says the guidance "seeks to give the federal government control over virtually every body of water in the United States, no matter how small." What's more, the EPA and the Corps are trying to impose it by bureaucratic fiat, circumventing the normal procedures required by the Administrative Procedure Act.

That subterfuge has raised hackles on Capitol Hill, where a bipartisan group of 72 House members has introduced legislation pushing back against the EPA and Corps power grab. The bill, designed to prevent the executive branch from legislating through regulation, cleared Mica's committee a few days ago.

You don't have to think expanding federal authority is a bad idea to think there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. During the Bush administration, Barack Obama spoke eloquently about how "the President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." (That was before he unilateraly authorized a military attack in Libya.) Likewise, federal agencies should not be able to redefine their own missions at whim.

The current question raises broader issues as well. For example, in March the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the EPA could not issue administrative orders without judicial review. In that case, Michael and Chantell Sackett found themselves in (pardon the term) hot water because – shades of John Pozsgai – they had leveled two-thirds of an acre in the middle of a development tract with rock and fill dirt, thereby allegedly filling wetlands illegally.

The EPA slapped them with an administrative order to remove the fill dirt or face sanctions. When they challenged the order, the agency argued that it could do so with no further review – essentially acting as judge, jury, and executioner all by itself. Even The Washington Post – no hotbed of right-wing deregulatory fever – said the agency should have "asked itself years ago whether it really needed to hassle a couple seeking to build a home in an existing subdivision, helping to justify every negative caricature of the EPA that Republican presidential hopefuls peddled during the primary race."

That editorial also noted the strident remarks by now ex-EPA official Al Armendiaz, who gained notoriety earlier this year when he said the agency, like the ancient Romans, should strike fear into the hearts of its subjects by crucifying victims at random.

Those remarks expose why the new wetlands guidance is problematic not merely for procedural reasons but for substantive ones as well. A crucial feature of the law is predictability: In order not to break the rules, you have to know what the rules allow and what they do not. But a regulatory system that applies to nearly any ditch or puddle cannot be enforced except in the most arbitrary fashion. So farmers, developers, and others simply would have no idea whether their seemingly innocuous activity could bring the federal hammer down out of a clear blue sky. Thus they would live in constant fear of becoming the next apparently random victim.

John Pozsgai, who grew up under the hammer and sickle of Soviet Communism, would understand perfectly.

NEXT: The Parallel Origin Stories of Premium Support and the Individual Mandate

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Reading this article, it’s quite hard to resist the temptation of violence. I really want one of these fuckers to come up to my house and declare that I can’t put an addition on because it would alter the way my gutter drains or some equivalent bullshit, just so I can pistol-whip the fuck out of him.

    1. My father went to get a permit to put an addition over his garage.
      The guy told him he had to first tear down his greenhouse since it was not built with a permit. Even though it had been there for thirty odd years, it was not structurally sound enough to pass inspection.
      So he got the permit to tear the greenhouse down (can’t do anything on your property without permission), tore it down, and they still won’t issue him a permit for the addition.

      Why?

      I think you know the answer.

      1. Yeah, I remember discussing this with you. I wouldn’t have personally applied for the permit in the first place.

        1. He didn’t. The contractor did.

          1. Did he ever find a contractor that would do it off the books? Or is he still in limbo?

            1. Now that he has the government’s attention, there’s no way he could initiate construction without someone popping by with a sheriff to put a stop to it.
              Last I talked with him the contractor (who wants the business) was wrangling to get the permit.
              So, no and yes.

            2. Besides, I’m going to inherit the house someday.
              I’ll want to be able to sell it without having to first tear down the parts that he added without permission.

          2. That’s why you pick a contractor hanging out in the parking lot of Kroger. They don’t believe in paying taxes either, which is cool

      2. Because he failed to submit the permit request in accordiance with local regulations?

        1. No. Because their standard policy is to deny building requests.
          We’re talking about way up in the Colorado Rockies. They don’t want anyone building anything.
          They will issue permits to tear things down, with the implied promise that after doing so they will issue a building permit, and then say “Ha ha ha! I made you tear down your greenhouse! Neener neener neener! Building permit? Ha! Fuck off.”

          1. Sounds like a job for Killdozer.

            1. Sounds like a job for Killdozer.

              Here’s some Killdozer: Ballad of My Old Man

          2. “Wait, you want to be productive? HAHAHA FUCK YOU SUCKER!”

            1. And people wonder why the economy is in the shitter.

          3. I’m surprised that more people put in these situations don’t off the s.o.b.s once they are diagnosed with a terminal illness.

            1. Excellent suggestion.

            2. Read The Ballad of Carl Drega.

              1. Whoa! Check out the price of a copy on Amazon. Cripes!

          4. They will issue permits to tear things down, with the implied promise that after doing so they will issue a building permit,

            That’s where he went wrong, relying on the good faith of a bureaucrat. The way to do it is to get your building permit so that it is conditional on tearing down the greenhouse.

            1. I told him to talk to a lawyer but he dismissed the idea, trusting that the contractor could get it done.

      3. Because fuck somebody?

      4. Why?

        I think you know the answer.

        I’ll take “Fuck You, That’s Why” for $500, Alex.

    2. Easy Tiger. The temptation to violent response is understandable because the acts of this government are becoming increasingly arbitrary.

      It’s as if Obama declared the national speed limit to be 1 mph, thereby criminalizing everyone walking or driving, and giving him the power to “justifiably” harass, extort, or imprison his political enemies.

      This type of arbitrary power was asserted by the old Soviet Union for the exact same purposes. It’s how soft tyranny becomes hard tyranny. Solzenitsyn said “Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence.”

      Right now, our soft tyranny is mostly extortion concealed by many lies about the good intentions of the govt. The concealment of violence is beginning with the Fast and Furious scandal. Hopefully it will end there.

      But soft tyranny must be resisted non-violently on all legal fronts because if violent resistance is used, it gives them a pretext for escalating to hard tyranny.

      In a way, they WANT you to shoot an EPA agent so they can militarize all regulatory egencies. Then we will be a police state.

      Resist this temptation. Use sharp bladed words. Save the ballistics for a hard tyranny, which could come if Obama’s rapid statist encroachments are not defeated at the ballot box.

      1. On all legal fronts? Yeah, sure think money bags.

      2. “tyranny must be resisted non-violently on all legal fronts because…”

        I call bullshit. There are those of us who simply do not have the emotional ability to take an obvious fucking quietly. Any guess the style of beating you can purchase from a biker gang for a grand?

        “so they can militarize all regulatory egencies”

        You were aware that the Dept. of Education recently updated the M-16’s for their swat team, right?

      3. That’s why you don’t shoot them, you make it look like they had an accident.

        1. And send no message at all? I call bullshit squared.

          1. That gets the message to those who need the message. Everyone else can mind their own business.

  2. I’m surprised the Navy doesn’t have little floating drones on every acre of wetlands to enforce federal hegemony over water.

    1. By next year they will declare that glasses and bottles left outside are wetlands.

      1. They already did. If a lot full of tires which “gather water” is a wetland, so is a lot full of glasses and bottles. I don’t see any snark necessary here. The EPA is filling in the blanks for us.

        1. In Los Angeles county, a lot of tires full of water is considered a “mosquito hazard”. You will be asked to remove them by Vector Control. They will come back, and will issue a citation if not removed. Funny, huh?

          1. Catch-22: The governments way of ****ing you no matter what you do.

    2. That’d be the Coast Guard thank you.

        1. The Navy has no responsibility or jurisdiction inside the US.

          And yeah, the coasties probably have pond drones.

          Joke time – Why does the coast guard have a minimum height requirement of 5 feet?

          So its people can walk to shore if they fall overboard.

          1. Okay, the Coast Guard. And their wee little floating drones.

            1. And their wee little floating drones.

              You guys did read that Drudge link today right?

              Swarms of cyborg insect drones are the future of military surveillance

              http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sci…..lance.html

              1. Last night I was watching the Season 2 episode of The X-Files, “Blood.” In that episode, one of the Lone Gunmen warns that the government are testing small spy cameras that can be attached to insects.

                1. And that aired a long time ago, no telling how good the cameras are now:)

                2. There was also an episode where someone had designed electronic bugs that looked like cockroaches.

              2. I need to learn to keep my cunning plans to myself.

  3. The lawyers always win.

    1. Is this a great country or what?

  4. But it’s totally unpossible that regulations like this retard economic activity.

    1. That’s right! Regulations = stimulus!

    2. What do you mean?
      Regulations like this require legions of government workers to enforce them, and those government workers stimulate the economy when they spend their paychecks!

      1. Everytime I tell some lefty that over regulation is one of the problems with the economy today the become apoplectic and sputter something like deregulation killed the economy.

  5. Based on everything I have read about the EPA, I could, conceiveably get fined and sanctioned for striking my golf ball if it has rained and I’m in standing water.

    Never thought I could be penalized for NOT taking a free drop.

    That is what could be next for the EPA

  6. And I would imagine he sold the tires and the scrap metal to a recycling firm. So he took junk that was rotting out and hurting the environment and recycled it. And the EPA threw him in prison for it.

    Don’t ever let any green tell you they care about the environment. They don’t.

    1. Surely some do – but certainly not the politicians that con them into voting for them.

    2. greens /= EPA. I’ve never known a single green that would stoop to work for the EPA.

      1. Yeah, greens just hate the EPA…

  7. They should have cited Neil Armstrong for having a destroyed mailbox littering the ground the very first day he moved to Indian Hills, Ohio.

    Probably a noise citation, cause that thing did make a good crash when I whacked it.

    1. You are just lucky that wasn’t Buzz Aldrin’s mailbox. He would have kicked your skinny white ass. You God damned un American little commie.

      1. Just because he’s some big star in some Hollywood movies doesn’t mean he can kick anything. I beat the hell out of Dean Cain and I’ll beat the hell out of Buzz Aldrin.

        And if any freaking astronaut moves withing 50 miles of me they better put claymores around their mailbox or that thing is going down.

        1. You can go ask the moon truthers about what happens to people who fuck with Buzz.

          1. What happens to those who buzz with Fuck?

  8. helping to justify every negative caricature of the EPA that Republican presidential hopefuls peddled during the primary race.”

    I was just going to write, “Doesn’t the EPA now justify every negative caricature of the Red State faithful?”

    That old joke in the 90s, that everything is a potential wetland is coming true.

    This country needs regulatory reform so bad it hurts.

    1. Who regulates the regulators?

      Oh yeah, Emilio Estevez.

      1. We simply return regulations back into legislation passed by representative government. It’s simple reform, but it puts this house of horrors square back into the laps of a politician who has to run for office every two to six years.

        1. But, but, but it’s too much for legislators to do!

          Do you know how many tens of thousands of pages of regulation are churned out each year?

          That’s way more than a legislative body can create!

          So they must delegate!

          Besides, if they had to be accountable, they’d never win an election!

          1. Legislators don’t have to do it. The EPA, OSHA etc, will still write the regs, but the legislature votes on them as a regulatory package.

            That’s right, Senator X, you voted for this provision.

            1. But, but, but . . . you can’t seriously expect me to read what’s in *every* bill that comes across my desk.

  9. Didn’t Marx mention something about abolishing property rights?

    Didn’t Cass Sunstein mention something about using government power to nudge people in the “right” direction?

  10. As horrible as Pozsgais story is, I have to assume that they sent him an administrative order which he ignored? Does the EPA really watch in secret silence and then have you sentenced to three years in prison when you remove a tire from your property?

    1. For what it is worth, here is the EPA side of the story

      In December 1989, a Philadelphia jury convicted John Pozsgai on 40 counts of knowingly filling wetlands in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, without a Section 404 permit. Mr. Pozsgai was sentenced to three years in jail, ordered to restore the site upon his release, and assessed a fine. His conviction and sentence have been affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Even prior to purchasing the 14-acre tract in 1987, Mr. Pozsgai was told by private consultants that the site contained wetlands subject to permitting requirements of Section 404. He purchased the property at a reduced price due to the presence of wetlands, and then proceeded to ignore no fewer than ten warnings from EPA and Corps field staff to stop filling the wetlands without first getting a Section 404 permit. He also defied a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by a Federal court judge. In fact, the government documented violations of the TRO on videtape, thanks to the cooperation of neighbors whose homes were being flooded as a result of Mr. Pozsgai’s filling in his wetlands.

      http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/facts/fact15.html

      1. Mr. Pozsgai was sentenced to three years in jail, ordered to restore the site upon his release, and assessed a fine.

        So, he has to return all of the old tires and scrap metal to the site?

      2. lots of ugly govt lawyers all over this one…

        http://www.freerepublic.com/fo…..1527/posts

        “Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, at every point along the way, my father kept asking, ‘How can we make this work?’ When he was told by the Army Corps that he must do ‘mitigation’ to build on his property, he thought he was being asked for a bribe. He went to the FBI to report it. He never fully understood what he was doing wrong, yet Army Corps sued him. Concurrently, Army Corps referred his case to the Environmental Protection Agency, who then referred it to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. And, at the same time he was being sued, the Army Corps was continually asking for more information to process his permit.

      3. “He purchased the property at a reduced price due to the presence of wetlands”

        The property was a tire dump! The EPA is saying he got a “discount” on a fucking dump because it was a wetland. Unreal.

    2. Oh its worse than that. Not only do they do the above, but the presumption is that you can’t challenge the order before the EPA moves to enforce it.

      So the EPA says stop what you’re doing and put everything back the way it was or we’ll fine you a bajillion dollars a day. If you refuse the EPA can wait an indefinite period of time before moveing to enforce the order and you are racking up fines every day until they do. If they wait three years and then take you to court and you lose, that’s three years of fines you’re on the hook for.

      1. but the presumption is that you can’t challenge the order before the EPA moves to enforce it.

        Didn’t the Supreme Court strike that down last fall?

        1. I think they struck down the presumption that you can’t challenge the order at all and not being able to challenge until enforcement is still under scrutiny.

          But I could be wrong about that.

    3. And I blame HyR for dredging this up to remind me after all these yrs. Bummer.

  11. Dude has a fuck of an obit too…

    John was born in Kisber, Hungary and was a Hungarian Freedom Fighter whose bravery saved thousands of lives during the mass exodus of the Hungarian uprising against the Soviet Invasion in October of 1956.

    He worked as a master mechanic for International Harvester, N.J. for 25 years while simultaneously building his own Truck Repair Shop, Pozsgai’s Garage and Truck Terminal, which has been in business for more than 50 years to date.

    He always said, ‘Do what you love and you never work a day in your life; work for the money and you enslave yourself.’

    Victoria Pozsgai-Khoury presented testimony on his behalf at the Kennedy Caucus Room during a Roundtable Discussion entitled ‘Property Wrongs’ sponsored by Senator Rand Paul, where he was commended for his bravery, promised change and honored by the Senators and Congressmen present as a ‘Patriot.’

    At the very conclusion of his daughter’s testimony in Washington DC he passed.

  12. Here’s a hint, WaPo: if the EPA is justifying every negative caricature of the EPA that Republican presidential hopefuls peddled during the primary race, maybe those aren’t caricatures, but accurate descriptions?

    1. It’s the WaPo, so an accurate description of the EPA is a negative caricature. It’s circular reasoning that’s very circular in its circularity.

  13. Apparently the EPA doesn’t have a problem with botox?

    1. Yeah, that picture is awfully . . . plastic. I’m guessing Parade-magazine levels of photoshop to get that perfect, satiny sheen.

      1. I’m guessing Parade-magazine levels of photoshop to get that perfect, satiny sheen.

        Or trowel applied levels of makeup.

  14. It really is infuriating that the MSM sees itself as keeping tabs on the powerful when its real function is to act as PR flacks for Leviathan.

  15. HA HA

    Are there problems with interpretations of the Clean Water Act? Sure.

    But making up shit about the Pozsgai case, in a public place, where people can actually see you do it, well, that’s just embarrassing.

    The US Appellate Court case.

    Facts: Three separate engineers, privately contracted by Pozsgai, called the lands wetlands. The Army Corps of Engineers did, too.

    More Facts: Pozsgai, ignoring countless orders to cease and desist, just did what he wanted, anyway.

    More Facts: When the District Court filed a restraining order against further filling (several hundred truckloads of fill had already been moved in) Pozsgai said “FUCK YOU”, in effect, and kept dumping.

    1. He treated his property like he actually owned it and could do things to it without asking for permission from some busybody government fuckwad?

      What a fucking monster! Throw away the key!

      1. One wonders how this is not a takings case.

        If preserving the wetland is not a public use then what the fuck is?

        If the government does not want him filling then fucking buy the property.

        1. It wasn’t a takings case because nothing that he paid for was taken. He bought the property with the wetlands restriction on it already. And he got it cheaply because it had that restriction.

    2. jeez Josh, where would we be without govt minders telling us what we can and cannot do on our property, with our kids, with our own bodies for that matter.

      Did you miss the part of the article where this man cleaned up what had been an illegal dumping ground? Funny how govt only bothers to get involved when someone is doing something that can be taxed, regulated, or subsidized.

      1. It wasn’t fully “Pozsgai’s property”: he bought the land with restrictions and then proceeded to ignore the restrictions. In doing so, he violated other people’s property rights, just as if he had interfered with an easement. If he wanted to have property he could do with as he pleased, he should have bought property without such restrictions.

        When the EPA retroactively imposes restrictions on land use, that’s a concern. When people knowingly buy land with land use restrictions and then ignore those restrictions, they only have themselves to blame for the consequences.

        1. Hi, TomG. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

          Nothing you’ve said, however, justifies, in any way, Reason’s original deceit about the land. And I quote:

          Sometimes when it rained, the tires caused water to build up on the property. In the eyes of the federal government, that made it a wetland.

        2. In April 1987, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received information that fill material was being dumped into wetlands on a 14-acre site in Morrisville, Pennsylvania. The Corps investigated the site, determined that nearly the entire property constituted wetlands […]

          This doesn’t sound like it was a “land with restrictions”.

          1. I quote the EPA version of events:

            “Even prior to purchasing the 14-acre tract in 1987, Mr. Pozsgai was told by private consultants that the site contained wetlands subject to permitting requirements of Section 404. He purchased the property at a reduced price due to the presence of wetlands, and then proceeded to ignore no fewer than ten warnings from EPA and Corps field staff to stop filling the wetlands without first getting a Section 404 permit.”

            So, according to the EPA the land was restricted because it was wetlands, and Pozsgai knew about it. The article presents no evidence to the contrary.

    3. You’re right, Josh, we need the government to tell us what to do so we don’t hurt ourselves. That’s why the EPA had to illegally push the scope of the Clean Water Act until it could control everyone’s property.

      Have fun sucking government teat.

    4. From the link:

      The legislative history also demonstrates the significance and breadth of the term “navigable waters.” The Conference Report states: “[t]he conferees fully intend that the term ‘navigable waters’ be given the broadest possible constitutional interpretation….” S.Conf.Rep. No. 1236, 92d Cong., 2d Sess. 144, U.S. Code Cong. Admin. News 1972, 3668, reprinted in 1 A Legislative History of the Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 327 (1973); see also H.R.Rep. No. 911, 92d Cong., 2d Sess. 131 (containing identical language), in 1 Legislative History 818.

      We are truly fucked.

      1. But it might open up a few fishing spots that I know.

    5. In Chevron, the Court defended deference to agency interpretations on the grounds that unlike a court, an agency has specialized knowledge of the relevant statutory area and is a politically accountable body.

      Really? Really?

    6. “[a]ll waters which are currently used, or were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce,” ? 328.3(a)(1); “tributaries of [these] waters,” ? 328.3(a)(5); and “wetlands adjacent to [these] waters [or their tributaries],” ? 328.3(a)(7). Applying this regulation, the district court found the Pozsgais discharged into wetlands (? (a)(7)), which were “adjacent” to a stream on the Pozsgais’ property which was a “tributary of the Pennsylvania Canal” (? (a)(5)). The Canal, in turn, flowed into the Delaware River, which, the court ruled, satisfied the requirement that the Pennsylvania Canal is, was, or could be used in interstate commerce (? (a)(1)).

      *holds head in hands*

      I shall read no further. I am now hopelessly depressed.

  16. I keep expecting to see her tear her flesh-mask off and eat a live rat.

  17. Putting a guy in jail for 3 years including court costs etc can’t be cheap.

    One wonders if it would not have been less expensive for the EPA to simply buy the land.

    I guess the jailers could argue that there is a pile on effect. People behave because they think they could go to jail.

    Of course buying the land would also have a pile on effect. People behave because the EPA might pay cash for their land.

  18. One thing I’ve never understood about “wet lands preservation” is that the premise is “90% of wet lands have been destroyed” by man. So we must work day and night to preserve the last 10% or something akin to the looming danger of global warming will occur.

    If wetlands are indeed something like the human kidney, purifying polluted water, how do you explain the perfectly fine drinking water where there no wetlands within 500 miles? EPA has moved from the absurd to the ridiculous in its’ regulations. But it is impossible to stop them from spewing out endless new regulations. Only hope is that some judge somewhere can reign them in.

    1. Only hope is that some judge somewhere can reign them in.

      nah.

      You get a Republican congress, senate and President I have funny feeling the EPA will get its nuts cut off. Of course you will get a war with Iran and only a slightly smaller ballooning deficit and debt with that.

      But yeah over the past 3 years the EPA has pissed off the wrong people. There will be a reckoning.

      I should also point out that a 30 year trend in public opinion has completely reversed itself.

      http://www.gallup.com/poll/1615/environment.aspx

      Politicians are pissed and they have the shelter of public support. My guess this is one of those policy in Washington DC is a lagging indicator type things that Matt and Nick keep talking about.

      1. Republican house, senate and president. Wow, wouldn’t that be awesome.

      2. We’re already getting plenty of war with Obama.

  19. The Clean Water Act clearly has been abused and the EPA is clearly overreaching. But if people want to successfully argue against them, it’s important to make sure that their arguments are impeccably supported by documented facts and evidence. In this day, it would be easy for an article like this to link to court records, pictures, and other supporting material.

    Without evidence, the EPA version of the events sounds much more plausible. In particular, if Pozsgai had been warned about the EPA’s classification of the site before purchasing it, he really doesn’t have much cause to complain, even if the EPA’s classification itself may be silly.

    FYI, here is the EPA’s version of events.

    http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/facts/fact15.html

    “United States v. Pozsgai

    In December 1989, a Philadelphia jury convicted John Pozsgai on 40 counts of knowingly filling wetlands in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, without a Section 404 permit. … Even prior to purchasing the 14-acre tract in 1987, Mr. Pozsgai was told by private consultants that the site contained wetlands subject to permitting requirements of Section 404. He purchased the property at a reduced price due to the presence of wetlands, and then proceeded to ignore no fewer than ten warnings from EPA and Corps field staff …”

    1. Is there an echo in here…in here.

  20. “At the time my father was sentenced, he was the ‘worst environmental violator’ in the history of the United States. No one had gone to prison for the Exxon Valdez disaster. No one went to prison when EPA noted 22,348 pounds of toxic TRI chemicals were released into the water in Essex, N.J. But John Pozsgai went to prison for Clean Water Act violations on 14 acres of an illegal dump in Morrisville, Pa.”

    Here is the real reason he went to jail – no political connections…like Monsanto!!

  21. “A similar breach of power can be studied in the case of John Rapanos. Federal officials prosecuted Mr. Rapanos for shoveling dirt around on his property in Bay County, Mich. The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers filed charges against Mr. Rapanos for “polluting” the wetlands by leveling the soil on his property. Under the “migratory molecule” rule, the Army Corps claims that any isolated wetland can fall under federal jurisdiction because there is a speculative possibility that a water molecule from one wetland may reach another navigable waterway. In Mr. Rapanos’ case, the nearest navigable water is roughly 20 miles from his property.”

    Anyone still want to defend?? Tony?

    https://reason.com/archives/201…..nt_3090396

    1. The “migratory molecule” rule?? We are fucked.

      Maybe people should literally spit on EPA property. “I’ve got your ‘migratory molecules’ right here!”

  22. EPA needs to find themselves standing in puddles of yellow rain.

  23. In December 1989, a Philadelphia jury convicted John Pozsgai on 40 counts of knowingly filling wetlands in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, without a Section 404 permit. Mr. Pozsgai was sentenced to three years in jail, ordered to restore the site upon his release, and assessed a fine. His conviction and sentence have been affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Even prior to purchasing the 14-acre tract in 1987, Mr. Pozsgai was told by private consultants that the site contained wetlands subject to permitting requirements of Section 404. He purchased the property at a reduced price due to the presence of wetlands, and then proceeded to ignore no fewer than ten warnings from EPA and Corps field staff to stop filling the wetlands without first getting a Section 404 permit. He also defied a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by a Federal court judge. In fact, the government documented violations of the TRO on videtape, thanks to the cooperation of neighbors whose homes were being flooded as a result of Mr. Pozsgai’s filling in his wetlands.

    That’s what the EPA says.

  24. His obit says:

    “He was awarded the Champion of Liberty Award from the PA Libertarian Party in 1996.

    On Oct. 6, 2000, testimony was given on his behalf before the House Committee on Government Reform-Chaired by Congressman Dan Burton entitled ‘Federal Wetlands Policy: Protecting the Environment or Breaching Constitutional Rights. Serial No, 106-233. John was given a standing ovation for his efforts and an apology by the Chairman on behalf of the government.”

  25. “So he hauled away the old tires?7,000 of them?and the rusty scrap metal, and hauled in clean fill dirt and topsoil.”

    I think that’s pure bullshit.

    Read this:

    http://law.justia.com/cases/fe…..19/309100/

    “Pozsgai continued his efforts to purchase the property. Apparently dissatisfied with J.G. Park’s opinion, Pozsgai hired a second engineer, Ezra Golub, to evaluate the property. Golub, too, advised Pozsgai the property was wetlands and the Corps would have to approve any building. Seeking yet a third opinion, Pozsgai hired Majors Engineers, who concurred in the views expressed by the previous two engineers.”

    etc.

  26. Note: I’m not defending the EPA, I’m just pointing out that A. Barton Hinkle’s description of the case was pretty damned dishonest.

  27. Seems Mr Pozsgai believed property rights and common sense would prevail against overbearing law.
    It would have in the America he mistakenly thought still existed.

    1. You can’t fix these problems through judicial activism. The fact that the EPA is overreaching needs to be fixed by Congress, because Congress authorized them in the first place.

  28. It does set the mind wondering: Where is the EPA headquarters, do they include a day care center, is there a Ryder Truck rental in the area?

    1. And can it be made to look like an accident?

      1. ou and the accident shitola. Would you remember Ok City, what incited the incident, who was targeted and why, if it were merely a gas leak?

  29. That subterfuge has raised hackles on Capitol Hill, where a bipartisan group of 72 House members has introduced legislation pushing back against the EPA and Corps power grab. The bill, http://www.riemeninnl.com/riem-bally-c-5.html designed to prevent the executive branch from legislating through regulation, cleared Mica’s committee a few days ago.

  30. ow, under the Obama administration, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are pushing the envelope again. They have rolled out a new http://www.maillotfr.com/maill…..-3_14.html Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act that would apply wetlands regulation to ditches, gullies, and similar places where standing water can accumulate.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.