Imagine that you own land deep in the wooded mountains out west. It’s a beautiful place, since it is at the edge of a national forest, the threat of forest fire increases every year. The only available water is the trickle of water found in a foot wide and foot deep ditch at the edge of your property.
Knowing the danger of losing everything in a forest fire, you build a couple of fire protection ponds along the edge of your property near that ditch. You bring in some water hauling trucks to fill in the ponds.
Then, the federal government, which you served in the Navy to help protect, comes in and charges you with a crime, claiming that the foot wide and foot deep ditch is a ‘navigable’ waterway and therefore falls under the protection of the federal commercial waterway section of the Clean Water Act. The government tells you that you first needed to obtain permission from the Army Corps of Engineers, which wasn’t given.
The closest navigable waterway is over 40 miles from your property and you find the ruling of the Environmental Protection Agency to be absurd. That is until they prosecute you and you are sentenced to 18-months in prison and fined $130,000, which ends up becoming a lien on your property taken out by the federal government.
This is what happened to 77-year-old Navy veteran Joe Robertson, whose property was in the Montana woods. Robertson dug his ponds back in 2013-14 and then the Obama socialist land-grabbing EPA stepped in with an obvious attempt to steal Robertson’s land from him and his wife Carri.
Robertson appealed his conviction, but that appeal was in the jurisdiction of the most liberal federal court in American history at the time, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, who upheld the conviction.
With the help of the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), Robertson appealed to the US Supreme Court.
Unfortunately, the proud Navy veteran died in March 2019 before the Supreme Court issued a ruling on his appeal. The Pacific Legal Foundation petitioned the court to allow Robertson’s widow, Carri, to stand in for her deceased husband. In the appeal, PCL argued that Robertson had been unconstitutionally convicted and that the EPA had exceeded their authority in using the Clean Water Act and claiming that the ditch was a navigable waterway.
A month after Joe Robertson passed away, the Supreme Court vacated the ruling of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to uphold Joe’s conviction. About the fine, the Supreme Court ordered the 9th Circuit Court to verify whether or not Joe’s estate can contest the $130,000 fine, which became a lien against the land.
Hopefully, with the changing face of the 9th Circuit Court, thanks to nominations to fill vacancies on the court by President Donald Trump, the court will agree that the estate can contest the fine and that the fine will be reversed and the lien on the property removed.
What happened to Joe Robertson was not an isolated incident, but a common occurrence under the Obama administration. Numerous land owners were terrorized by Obama’s EPA in their quest to control all land in the nation, especially privately-owned land.
Take the case of Peter and Frankie Smith of New Mexico, another case in which PCL was involved in. Also during the reign of Barack Hussein Obama, the Smiths purchased 20 acres of land outside of Santa Fe in hopes of building their dream home to retire to and live happily ever after. As is typical in any desert landscape there are dry washes and stream beds that cross their land.
In one dry streambed they found lots of trash which they spent time cleaning up and hauling away. As they picked up the discarded tin cans, wine bottles and other items they also smoothed off the bottom of the desert wash and cleaned it up to make it look nice.
That’s when the big bad Army Corps of Engineers moved in and told them that wash was a ‘water of the United States’ and that their cleaning and smoothing of the wash constituted illegal dredging and pollution flow problems that could affect the Rio Grande River, some 25 miles away. By having the wash declared a water of the United States the Smiths were now subject to the rules and regulations of the Clean Water Act, which they were now in violation of according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
With the help of the PCL, the Smith’s won, but not until a long legal battle with the Obama government.
Don’t forget that socialists believe that the government should control and own all lands and then dictate who can live where and on how much land. If Democrats regain control of Congress and the White House, what Obama started may well be completed.