Beware: You Can Be Hammered by Environmental Regulators if You...
...Remove tree stumps from your property and chunks of dirt fall into a puddle of water. This could constitute filling a wet land, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
...Drain standing water on your property that collects for one week each year during the spring thaw. North Dakota farmers were charged with destroying habitat of migrating birds when they drained potholes in their fields that had temporarily filled with water.
...Repair irrigation ditches. A rancher in Nevada was accused by regulators of "redirecting streams" when he repaired a 75-year-old irrigation ditch on his property.
...Make an addition to your home and the new structure casts a shadow on land that fits the broad definition of a "wetland." James Mills, who lives on the Broad Channel in New York state, was threatened with a $30,000 fine by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation for, among other things, building a deck that casts a shadow on a wetland.
...Remove old tires and other garbage from your property and add clean land-fill. Pennsylvania mechanic John Pozsgai was fined $202,000 and ordered to serve three years in federal prison for making just such improvements to his property.
...Do a favor for your state government. Idaho farmer Bud Koster permitted Idaho Transportation Department officials to dispose of dirt and gravel that had collected on the side of a snowplowed dirt road on a portion of his pasture. He was later accused of illegally filling a wetland.
Sources: Wilderness Institute Resource, Fall 1992; and Reason Magazine, April 1991
Talking Points on the Economy: Environment #1, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Ct NE, Washington, D.C. 20002 Tel. (202) 543-4110, Fax (202)543-5975, [email protected], http://www.nationalcenter/inter.net. For more information about Talking Points on the Economy: Environment #1 contact Bob Adams at 202/543-4110 or [email protected]
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