The EPA Now Trying to Garnish Citizens’ Wages

July 4th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

stop-the-EPA
On the day we celebrate our liberties, it is ironic — and troubling — that the EPA is attempting to get the authority to garnish the wages of citizens if they are fined for violating EPA regulations.

As described in this article, just the building of a pond on your property that did not get approval from all of the federal agencies who want to interfere with your personal property rights could lead to the government garnishing your wages. No appeal or due process if you want to challenge the EPA’s decision.

It doesn’t matter if the local wildlife loves your new pond. The government can demand you destroy it…or else.

Happy 4th of July.


73 Responses to “The EPA Now Trying to Garnish Citizens’ Wages”

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  1. change says:

    Simply want to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity in your post is just spectacular and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.
    Fine with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a million and please carry on the rewarding work.

    • Gail Combs says:

      I do not think you understand what is behind this ruling. To put it bluntly it should scare the bejessus out of anyone who has been following international politics.

      #1. The UN Biodiversity Treaty was almost ratified. It would put Americans into Transit Villages. Some land would become limited access (farms) and 50% or more would become “Wildlands” with no human access allowed.
      SEE: (wwwDOT)undueinfluence.com/wildlands_disambiguation.htm”

      This map was put together and shown to Congress and defeated the ratification at the eleventh hour but it did not kill the idea. It only slowed it down.

      Information You Need To Know About – The Wildlands Project: – a listing of bill, laws and articles on the Wildlands Project and Agenda 21.
      (wwwDOT)klamathbucketbrigade.org/YNTKwildlandsproject_table.htm
      …..

      #2 The international Ag cartel who pushed the World Trade Organization Agreement on Agriculture wants a world wide monopoly on food production. That was what the Food Safety Modernization Act was really about. (It hands control of US farming over to the WTO.) For the results of a similar law we can look at the EU.

      …Through the auspices of a senior civil servant in Warsaw, Jadwiga and I were able to address a meeting with the Brussels-based committee responsible for negotiating Poland’s agricultural terms of entry into the EU….

      After clearing her throat and leaning slowly forward, the chair-lady said: “I don’t think you understand what EU policy is. Our objective is to ensure that farmers receive the same salary parity as white collar workers in the cities…. To do this it will be necessary to shift around one million farmers off the land and encourage them to take city and service industry jobs to improve their economic position. The remaining farms will be made competitive with their counterparts in western Europe.”

      .. a lady from Portugal, who rather quietly remarked that since Portugal joined the European Union, 60 percent of small farmers had already left the land. “The European Union is simply not interested in small farms,” she said…
      (wwwDOT)i-sis.org.uk/savePolishCountryside.php

      Meanwhile there is the international land grab going on by the likes of George Soros, The Rothschilds, US Universities and the Chinese. (Why do you think Russia wants the Ukraine – it is rich in farmland and natural resources.)

      In Mexico thanks to NAFTA 75% of the small farmers were bankrupted off their land and the likes of Smithfield moved in. (Remember the swine flu scare?)
      SEE: (wwwDOT)countercurrents.org/mohanty230608.htm

      Australia and Canada have been treated to the same and now it is the USA’s turn to have her small farmers dragged off their farms whether they like it or not.

      Another Way To Kill US Farmers: Seize Their Bank Accounts on Phony Charges
      archive(DOT)lewrockwell.com/rep3/feds-seize-farmer-bank-accounts.html

      The Food Safety Modernization Act could even regulate the tomato plant on your back porch!
      (wwwDOT)examiner.com/article/trojan-horse-law-the-food-safety-modernization-act-of-2009

      Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.” ~ Henry Kissinger

  2. Robtzu says:

    The only freedom Americans want is over the remote and whom they sleep with. The rest is too much responsibilty. Liberty is old fashioned. The Republic is dead and the 4th should be viewed as a wake instead of a birthday.

  3. Gary says:

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.
    — Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)

  4. Happy Fourth of July, Roy and all American readers. Freedom.

  5. AlecM says:

    In the UK, the Tax people have tried to do the same, but have been forced back because it would breach the Human Rights Act, EU legislation.

  6. Chuck L says:

    As the EPA and other government entities claim authority to garnish citizens’ wages and take private property without due process or court order, the name of the 4th of July holiday, Independence Day, is rapidly becoming an oxymoron. I have never been so fearful of my government nor been so pessimistic about reversing the direction our country is heading. We, The People, must wake up and take back our country from lobbyists, bureaucrats, and the political ruling class!

    Happy Independence Day, let freedom ring (again)!!

    • John K says:

      Hi Chuck L,

      The country faces many perils at this point in history. We have been given a great gift by our fore fathers the Constitution. Men and women have fought to defend it. Any solution to perils we face now will likely require no less.

      Thanks and have a Happy Independence Day, let Freedom ring always!!!

  7. Robert says:

    And how awful this all sounds it is just the beginning. Since 9/11 the fascist really took over.
    The Patriot Act took the last of your rights away. You now live in a lawless society.
    Get used to it or fight you have nothing to lose only your life .Remember we all have to die sooner or later.

  8. Nate says:

    This is interesting. If you follow the links in the article, you can see that what the EPA is doing is simply implementing the Debt Collection Improvement Act, a law passed by congress in 1996. If you recall, in 1996, both houses of congress were controlled by the Republican party.

    • Alick says:

      Why would the EPA and this administration do that other than as a demonstration that the Act needs to be repealed? A “debt” first has to be manufactured before any “collection” of it can take place.

    • MikeR says:

      Nate, do you usually ascribe policies to Congress and not to the President? What about the economic success of that period; do you ascribe that to the Republican Congress as well, or to the Democratic President Clinton (who signed the bill you are describing)?

      And by “implementing the Debt Collection Improvement Act”, are you seriously claiming that the EPA has no choice but to crush a man who built a pond on his property? Any law can be abused by a regulatory agency; that’s the problem with regulatory agencies. When they start abusing their authority, it’s time to replace them with something smaller and simpler.

      • Nate says:

        No, I just assumed everyone knew who was President then. I don’t usually remember who had majorities in Congress, especially 15-20 years ago. Sure Clinton signed it.

        In terms of the government wanting to “interfere with your personal property rights”, I’d have to say it all depends. If what that guy is doing on his property is significantly affecting me, his neighbor, or others down-stream from him, then maybe I would want the government to enforce the law. I mean should people be able to dump anything they want into water that flows through their property? This kind of dispute happens all the time between land owners and others who use the water.

        It seems clear that the guy knew what the law was and decided to break it anyway. When the Army Corps of Engineers contacted him, requested he cease his construction, daming up and dumping material into the creek, he apparently ignored them. When they enforced the law, well, he should not be surprised and he should face the music.

        • An Inquirer says:

          There are few defenders of liberty who are entirely happy with everything that Republicans have done. Power is a very corrupting influence — often subtle. That being said, I have more concern about Democrats having power than Republicans having power. As their names suggest, Democrats emphasize democracy which tends to have problems with tyranny of the majority. (There are multiple examples of such tyranny such as oppression of Jews after a democratic election in Germany or oppression of blacks in areas of white Democrat majorities.) Meanwhile, Republicans emphasize liberties which are enshrined in the Republic’s constitution. It is easy to have democracy without widespread liberty.

          Nevetheless, it should be a reminder to all that we may be comfortable with giving government power when our side is in control, but we may not be comfortable if the other side gains control.

          (By the way, I have not yet investigated the particulars of this particular pond issue. I intend to do so now.)

  9. J Williams says:

    Nate—You are 100% correct. I too followed the links in the article and saw the exact same thing. Also, it’s not accurate to say there is no appeal process. That’s simply not true.

    • An Inquirer says:

      Sorry, J Williams & Nate,

      I now have read a variety of available materials on this case, and I think you have missed key issues.

      First, the overall issue is whether an a government agency is playing the part of a heavy-handed bully is the playing a role a cooperative, informative agency trying to balance the rights of propety owners vs. the purpose of statutes. Apparently, the government agency is going with the former.

      Second, a key question is whether the Clean Water Act whose stated coverage is limited to navigable waters actually applies in this case. I would encourage you to look at the the Six Mile Creek to see if it is navigable.

      Third, the terms of the compliance order appear gto be onerous — it not only requires the landowner to hire a consultant, develop a restoration plan, secure the EPA approval of the restoration plan, and complete the restoration plan within 60 days.

      Fourth, the $75,000 per day fine is a bully tactic. Many individuals do not have resources to oppose a government agency in court — nor should they be expected to.

      Fifth, the agency is dcclaring the landowner guilty without proof. Even if the Clean Water Act applies to Six Mile Creek, the agency has not proved that the landowner is guilty. In particular, the landowner and locals call this pond a stock pond, not a dam, and stock ponds are specifically exempt under Section 404(f)(1)(c). The agency has not proved that the item under question is not a stock pond.

      Sixth, the Compliance Order seems to contain errors. These errors may indicate the agency’s understanding of the local geography of the area. The agency seems to be more interested in its bullying tactics than correcting its errors.

      Seventh, garnishment of wages is a severe step – definitely a bullying tactic, and I cannot see how due process is applied here. The question is not whether some lawyer can think of some way to appeal the case, but rather whether a landowner should be bullied this way.

      Finally, the landowner did file and obtained approval from the state authorities for his pond. The federal agency did not claim its jurisdiction until after the pond was complete and the state Engineer’s Office has blessed the work.

      • Nate says:

        Inquirer,

        You bring up some issues that muddy the waters ;).

        From reading other sources, I gather that water is taken very seriously in the west, since there is not a lot of it. Creating a ‘stock pond’ generally involves digging a hole, which is filled by runoff. While in this case, a dam in a free-flowing stream was built, which created a rather large pond that looks more like a lake, and clearly could impact the amount of flow down-stream. This is a well-known no-no, and requires approvals of state and feds.

        If he indeed got state approval, he may have felt like he satisfied the rules. But why didnt the state inform him of the federal approvals needed? Or did the state not fully understand what he had in mind, e.g. stock -pond vs. dam?

        • John K says:

          Hi Nate,

          Do the state bureaucrats even know all the federal approvals needed? More than likely the state officials didn’t know much.

          Have a great day!

  10. wyoskeptic says:

    For those who are concerned about this issue, I would suggest leaving comments here:

    http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=EPA_FRDOC_0001-15898;p=1

    This is the online site for commenting on upcoming regulations.

    Enough comments and they will back off. Putting a bug in your congessmans’ ears doesn’t hurt either. Especially with the elections here in 2014 coming up soon. A lot of them are very nervous these days.

  11. John says:

    There are legitimate arguments to be made about the extent to which government should regulate the private use of land. On that point, it should be noted that at common law, your freedom as a landowner could be restricted to the extent that your activity has an effect on the surrounding properties. For example, if you were discharging some sort of noxious substance from your property onto an adjoining property, your neighbors could file suit against you for nuisance.

    You can still bring nuisance lawsuits when appropriate. However, as a society, we have come to recognize that the after-the-fact remedies provided by the courts are not always sufficient to make people whole, and that preventing problems before they start is often the better approach. For example, if a company secretly dumps a bunch of toxic waste then goes bankrupt, and the neighbors only find out their groundwater is contaminated years later, bringing a lawsuit doesn’t help them, and it can cost everyone buckets of money to clean up the mess.

    Environmental laws and regulations are designed to address this situation. It’s generally much better to prevent the bad behavior than to clean it up later. There is certainly room for debate about the scope of such regulation, and whether specific regulations really benefit the public good–CO2 emissions anyone? But if there were no laws and regulations at all it would allow unscrupulous operators out for a quick buck to act with near impunity.

    Also, administrative procedures satisfy due process. The people who complain about lack of due process are often the same people who get multiple notices and throw them in the trash.

    • An Inquirer says:

      There is only due process in theory — not in practice — when a government agency with its vast amount of resoures use bullying tactics against an individual. Government personnel get paid not only when they apply their bullying tactics but also when they go through the “due process” appeals. For the individual, the “due process” is expensive and a distraction from ability to earn a living.

      • John says:

        Absolutely when the resources of the government are brought to bear it is difficult to deal with even for someone who is in the right. I have defended individuals targeted for administrative action by the federal government (not the EPA) and I know that’s the case. Due process can be had, but it can be expensive. There can be incentive to cave in and not fight.

        At the same time, it’s hard to strike the right balance. Oversimplifying administrative procedures really could result in no possibility of due process, and overcomplicating them ends up reserving due process for those that can afford it. And getting rid of the EPA would mean a total lack of accountability for (very real) bad actors.

        • JohnKl says:

          Hi John,

          You stated:

          “And getting rid of the EPA would mean a total lack of accountability for (very real) bad actors.”

          Hmmh! For most of US history up until the Nixon administration the EPA didn’t exists, yet the legal system did give some accountability. Laws and the courts did exist to protect life and property rights. One can criticize the prior administration of environmental protection but it should be obvious that money still talks even in the age of the EPA. The willingness of the public to even acknowledge (very real) bad actors let alone hold them accountable remains an open question. If you doubt me just look at the current administration on so many levels including the environment. While particulate matter apparently has been reduced due to technological innovation and perhaps to a lesser extent the EPA ( although the 1980’s witnessed a continued decrease in particulate matter in the atmosphere above US cities and municipalities despite their being no changes in EPA regulations at the time ) worsening drinking water conditions keep getting reported on. Pharmaceutical chemicals have been detected in the US municipal water supplies. The EPA might get around to it when enough people die and they’ve taken as much control of the earth’s hydrocarbons as possible in their truly never ending war against atmospheric plant food.

          All my previous comments aside, I agree that real bad actors exists and pose a danger to the environment. However, while the Nixon administration took action to deal with the problem through the EPA I’m not convinced that granting the same organization un-checked power solves the problem. In fact, I’m quite sure it won’t. More than the EPA a real solution to the problem requires an educated public, and recognition and protection of individual constitutional rights of our citizens (life and property especially) against these bad actors who seek to imperil them.

          Have a great day!

          • John says:

            1) It’s impossible to take you seriously when you say that the EPA has “un-checked power”

            2) I have litigated enough cases dealing with insurance coverage for toxic-waste dumping that took place in the 1960s that wasn’t discovered until 30 years later to know that there are lots of bad actors out there and that after-the-fact legal remedies aren’t sufficient.

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi John,

            You asserted:

            “1) It’s impossible to take you seriously when you say that the EPA has “un-checked power””

            That claim appears dishonest since I never claimed the EPA HAD unchecked power. I wrote:

            “I’m not convinced that granting the same organization un-checked power solves the problem.”

            In any case, in this context I’m referring to giving them the power to seize property without a court order. The court order being a “check” on power.

            You then strangely stated:

            “2) I have litigated enough cases dealing with insurance coverage for toxic-waste dumping that took place in the 1960s that wasn’t discovered until 30 years later to know that there are lots of bad actors out there and that after-the-fact legal remedies aren’t sufficient.”

            If a toxic-waste location goes un-detected for 30 years any legal remedy could not be applied until after it is discovered, which by definition would be AFTER THE FACT whether or not it proves SUFFICIENT!

            Have a great day!

          • John says:

            Won’t let me post a further reply below so I’ll do it here:

            JohnKL said:

            “If a toxic-waste location goes un-detected for 30 years any legal remedy could not be applied until after it is discovered, which by definition would be AFTER THE FACT whether or not it proves SUFFICIENT!”

            In response I say:

            First, “legal remedy” is a term in the law referring to the award of damages after you have been wronged. However, as our society has learned, awards of damages are not always sufficient to either deter civil wrongs or to make victims whole. If you were killed, your family might be able to bring a wrongful death claim, but it wouldn’t bring you back. And if the person who killed you had no assets, then they wouldn’t even get any money to compensate for their loss.

            Most regulatory schemes are designed to deal with activity BEFORE it happens through licensing and permitting. Yes, they generally also have provisions imposing penalties for failure to get the proper permits/licenses, but a primary purpose is to prevent and restrict certain activity beforehand because an after-the-fact right to sue is unlikely to achieve justice.

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi John,

            You claimed:

            “However, as our society has learned, awards of damages are not always sufficient to either deter civil wrongs or to make victims whole.”

            Hmmh! Personally I don’t believe the government to be sufficiently capable of always detering civil wrongs or in many cases of making the victims whole.

            You go on to claim:

            “Most regulatory schemes are designed to deal with activity BEFORE it happens through licensing and permitting. Yes, they generally also have provisions imposing penalties for failure to get the proper permits/licenses, but a primary purpose is to prevent and restrict certain activity beforehand because an after-the-fact right to sue is unlikely to achieve justice.”

            This statement presumes the activity regulated proves to be SOMEHOW UNJUST. Human action itself including the disposition of toxic material is not unjust. Releasing toxic material into the environment (from which it originated) need not be unjust unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property. Certainly the existence of a drainage ditch on someone’s land is NOT AN UNJUST PHENOMENON. The EPA and other regulatory agencies circumscribe many things/activities that have little if anything to do with achieving JUSTICE. To claim so imo proves prima facia absurd! We perhaps can agree only to the extent the activity regulated can be proven in all cases to endanger lives and property.

            BTW, government entities have a proven history of ignoring contracts they have entered into and CREATING ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE. If you know the history of LOVE CANAL you’ll know what I mean.

            Have a great day!

  12. Bert Walker says:

    Why would the EPA really care about a rancher in Wyoming?
    I suspect the EPA would rather use the Administrative Wage Garnishment Act (WGA) to fine individual “Carbon” polluters. It is using this as a test case because 1) it can, 2) the “violator” is an isolated, 3)is entirely on private land, it is an environmental challenge that does not affect in any way the land owner’s neighbors, thus the object of the complaint is isolated and any future employment of the WGA will appear even more justified.

    If this EPA action will go unstopped or even mildly modified the EPA can use the this case for precedence for larger widespread intimidation employing the WGA for polluters of water and air environments.
    All you “Carbon” polluters should sit up and take notice. The WGA will soon be coming to you.

  13. J Williams says:

    An Inquirer: My comment made two points. One, I agreed with an earlier comment that EPA’s proposed rule to allow the agency to garnish wages was just seeking to implement an earlier law passed by Congress. Two, I was noting that the assertion in the original post about “no appeal” is simply not true. Both of those statements are correct.

    My comment was not intended to address the underlying issues of the case. For what it’s worth, I agree that there are some very peculiar aspects to this case.

    • An Inquirer says:

      Sounds like we had a good exchange of thoughts and insights. Clarifications often prevent upset minds. 🙂 Thanks for your post.

  14. My main concern is not with this agency using these powers in a proper manner in order to collect certain fines it is due. My concern resides around bureaucrats with no direct oversight deciding instead to use this authority to play whack-a-mole. This welder / landowner out in podunk Wyoming dares defy the might EPA? Levy a fine then garnish his wages, keep him so broke he cannot afford to sue anyone. Anyone dares argue about what we are doing with him? Find a 6’x6′ depressed area in their backyard. Declare that depression to be a “seasonal wetlands” (because after all it does fill up with water when it rains, right?) and levy fines for illegally creating, or illegally destroying a wetlands, or failing to properly maintain a wetlands area, levy a fine and garnish their wages too.

    Do this often enough and the serfs will learn not to challenge the mighty Imperial EPA.

    The Federal government cannot go within a state’s borders to individually enforce any legislation. That enforcement is up to the state to carry out. Federal government power resides from the sovereign nature of each individual state and the amount of power these states grant to it.

    If the federal government wants to garnish wages, it has to go to court and get the order, then have the state where it occurs do the enforcing to collect on that order. Under the Constitution the Federal government, (although it continually argues otherwise)does not have ordinary police authority within any state borders.

  15. JohnKl says:

    “My main concern is not with this agency using these powers in a proper manner in order to collect certain fines it is due.”

    A problem remains even if the agency merely enforces rules and regs, because the administration apparently drafts such rules and regs without congressional approval via executive orders! Which to many, myself included seems just a tad bid unconstitutional! Over the July 4 weekend a friend of mine who owns two businesses expressed grave concern at what he believes to be a fascist bent in this government to act outside the rule of law. Frankly, given the administrations previous behavior and the willingness of so many people in this country to simply accept whatever actions government officials take as their merely following orders I don’t blame him!

    IMHO, your whack-a-mole game doesn’t represent a mere annoyance but represent conscious planning. The end result of such measures being to drive small farmers or marginally productive individuals off the land their fore fathers fought and died for so as to re-distribute it elsewhere. The EPA fines can run tens of thousands of dollars per day. Many of the farmers would prove fortunate to make that much in a year. Do the math! The government officials have!

    Have a great day!

  16. Jonathan says:

    I’m not sure exactly why but this web site is loading extremely slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my end?
    I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

  17. John says:

    The guy put a dam across a creek. This is something that has been regulated for ages. If a creek or river runs across your land you do NOT have unfettered right to that creek or river. And this is something that needs to be regulated so that upstream landowners can’t screw the people downstream.

    Has this administration tried to regulate areas beyond the scope of authority granted by congress? Definitely. But underlying case has nothing to do with new rules and regs from the current administration.

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi John,

      You stated:

      “…this is something that needs to be regulated so that upstream landowners can’t screw the people downstream.”

      Understood, but the regulations will always be arbitrary and some will inevitably benefit some more than others. Just look at the Sea of Cortez where the Colorado river meets (met) the Baja peninsula. Arizon and California farmers long ago laid claims to the river water that once flowed into the Baja region creating an oasis of wildlife. Jaguars used to roam into the Southern California region from the region, but not so much anymore. Alexander Cockburn wrote an interesting piece about it years ago.

      You further stated:

      “But underlying case has nothing to do with new rules and regs from the current administration.”

      True, but imo it will inevitably set a precedent that can apply to new rules and regs.

      Have a great day!

      • John says:

        I think the lesson to be learned from the underlying case is that if your ignore rules and regulations you are probably going to get screwed and complaining about lack of due process after the fact probably won’t fly …

        And that’s hardly precedent.

        • wyoskeptic says:

          The problem with the underlying case is the Andy Johnson did comply with all the rules and regulations. Up until the EPA deciding it has to be involved in any case involving 1 drop or more of water in the USA, you had to comply with the regulations presented by the State of Wyoming in order to build a stock pond. You dealt with the Wyo State Engineer and followed the State engineer’s requirements.

          Now, the EPA was originally created to deal with the Quality of water, not the ownership, not the engineering requirements, but the Quality of the water. And that water was limited to Navigable waterways. This creek is hardly a navigable waterway.

          Again, this is a case of an agency, the EPA, trying to muscle its way into an area that has traditionally been within the state. It is a State’s rights issue with the Government working like crazy to prove that it has overriding authority where the Constitution clearly says it does not.

          • John says:

            A long line of legal precedent under the Commerce Clause gives the federal government jurisdiction over navigable waters (a term which the courts have interpreted to include some relatively small streams and creeks). As a result, your statements that “Up until the EPA deciding it has to be involved in any case involving 1 drop or more of water in the USA, you had to comply with the regulations presented by the State of Wyoming” and that the EPA is “trying to muscle its way into an area that has traditionally been within the state” are incorrect. Even before the advent of the Clean Water Act, the Army Corps of Engineers had jurisdiction over things like the construction of dams that would affect the course of waterways.

            You can legitimately raise an issue about whether or not federal jurisdiction SHOULD cover the creek at issue. And from a pure legal/Constitutional perspective, there is a pretty decent argument that it shouldn’t.

            But it’s dishonest to pretend that this is a new issue. The Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA have asserted this type of jurisdiction for DECADES under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

          • wyoskeptic says:

            John says:
            July 9, 2014 at 3:52 PM

            I would simply say read this article. It is one that I could find which is written simply with the facts of the case and not overly biased either way.

            http://www.tsln.com/marketplace/11691341-113/johnson-epa-permit-waters

            It is not as simple as it is being made out, yet one thing I wish to make clear: stock ponds generally do not require a permit from the corps of engineers. In fact on the EPA’s webpage they state:

            http://water.epa.gov/type/wetlands/outreach/fact20.cfm

            Exemptions to Permit Requirements:

            Activities Exempt under the Clean Water Act, Section 404(f)

            Established (ongoing) farming, ranching, and forestry activities:

            plowing

            seeding

            cultivating

            harvesting food, fiber, and forest products

            minor drainage

            upland soil and water conservation practices.

            Maintenance (but not construction) of drainage ditches

            Construction and maintenance of irrigation ditches

            >>> Construction and maintenance of farm or stock ponds <<>> are mine)

            Construction and maintenance of farm and forest roads, in accordance with best management practices

            Maintenance of structures, such as dams, dikes, and levees

            Exemptions

            You do not generally need a permit under Section 404 if your discharges of dredged or fill material are associated with “normal farming,” ranching, and forestry activities such as plowing, cultivating, minor drainage, and harvesting for the production of food, fiber, and forest products or upland soil and water conservation practices. This exemption pertains to “normal farming” and harvesting activities that are part of an established, ongoing farming or forestry operations.

            Activities Not Exempt

            If an activity listed above as exempt represents a new use of the water, and the activity would result in a reduction in reach or impairment of flow or circulation of regulated waters, including wetlands, the activity is not exempt. Both conditions must be met in order for the activity to be considered non-exempt. In general, any discharge of dredged or fill material associated with an activity that converts a wetland to upland is not exempt, and requires a Section 404 permit.

            Examples

            Activities that bring a wetland into farm production where the wetland has not previously been used for farming are not considered part of an established operation, and therefore require a permit .

            Introduction of a new cultivation technique such as discing between crop rows for weed control may be a new farming activity, but because the farm operation is ongoing, the activity is exempt from permit requirements under Section 404.

            Planting different crops as part of an established rotation, such as soybeans to rice, is exempt.

            Discharges associated with ongoing rotations of rice and crawfish production are also exempt.

            end…

            Now, (from the tristate article above:) Ray Kagel, co-owner of Kagel Environmental, LLC, and former wetlands enforcement officer with the Corps of Engineers, was hired by Johnson’s attorney, Dan Frank, to assess the situation. Kagel’s business focuses on assisting property owners who are accused of violating the CWA, particularly Section 404. Kagel said, “Although the EPA alleges that Mr. Johnson’s placement of fill material into Six Mile Creek constituted the “discharge of pollutants,” the actual truth of the matter is that the relatively tiny amount of clean earthen fill material placed below the high water mark of this small channel could not possibly affect the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the Green River, located some 100 miles away. This standard (affecting the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the nearest navigable water) is required by the U.S. Supreme Court in order for the EPA to have Section 404 jurisdiction (See Rapanos V EPA). It’s referred to as the “significant nexus” rule.”

            Further: According to Kagel, Johnson was not in violation of the CWA for three different reasons. “We determined, in our professional opinion, that the little channel in which Andy Johnson constructed his pond was not subject to jurisdiction under the CWA. The small channel of Six Mile Creek flows directly into a non-jurisdictional man-made irrigation canal, and is therefore not a tributary to the nearest navigable water, which is the Green River located approximately 100 miles away. Even if it were subject to the CWA, it clearly fit the exemption for a stock watering pond. His permit from the state of Wyoming said it was specifically for a stock watering permit. Even if it was subject to jurisdiction under the CWA, and if it didn’t qualify for that exemption, it was still authorized—which means there was no violation—under a general nationwide permit number 18. This permit does not require any notification to the Corps of Engineers. It’s an automatic permit that you don’t have to make any application for. Provided the work doesn’t involve filling wetlands—and both the Corps and EPA admitted that this doesn’t involve filling wetlands—it is in compliance if the fill material is less than 10 cubic yards below the ordinary high water mark of the channel. We found it was about eight and a half cubic yards below the high water mark. Even in my former position as an enforcement officer, I could have found no evidence of any violation.”

            Now another point which is not readily brought up is this:

            In any case like this, the EPA brings the charges, but it is up to the ones who are charged to prove they are not in violation.

            Let me repeat that, it is not up to the government to prove anything, they bring the charges. It is up to the ones who are charged to PROVE THEY ARE NOT IN VIOLATION of the CWA.

            Innocent until proven guilty? No where to be found here. You have to prove you are not guilty.

        • JohnKl says:

          Hi John,

          Obeying rules and regs cannot be described as a NEW procedure. However, the article states:

          “In a Federal Register notice on July 2 titled “Administrative Wage Garnishment,” the EPA stated that by the authority of the Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA ) of 1996 it issued a proposed rule that “will allow the EPA to garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order.””

          Giving a state agency power to seize property without court order or sanction certainly seems like an intrusive precedent to me, especially if used to enforce PRESIDENTIAL EXECUTIVE ORDERS outside of congressional approval.

          As Scalia supposedly stated in a court decision:

          “In a nation that values due process, not to mention private property, such treatment is unthinkable.” Scalia went on that “there is no reason to think that the Clean Water Act was uniquely designed to enable the strong-arming of regulated parties into ‘voluntary compliance’ without the opportunity for judicial review—even judicial review of the question whether the regulated party is within the EPA’s jurisdiction.”

          Perhaps DUE PROCESS or EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW mean little or nothing to you, but you may change your tune if ever found in the cross-hairs of some over-zealous official. Please note many of us have lodged our complaints about such intrusive practices for years not merely in response to recent due process violations.

          The indifferent response of government officials and much of the public proves not merely an unfortunate precedent, but one far too many willingly accept.

          Have a great day!

          • John says:

            There is no process for creating new rules and regulations by “PRESIDENTIAL EXECUTIVE ORDER” and despite what some of the fear-mongers out there claim, it has not been happening. There is a very specific process that administrative agencies like the EPA have to use In order to create new rules and regulations, and they require public notice and an opportunity for public comment. Also, the rules and regulations need to be based on a congressional grant of authority that allows for promulgation of regulations on that subject.

            It is certainly the case that various agencies at various times have overstepped their congressional grant of authority or have not followed the proper procedure for notice and comment before issuing regulations. In these kinds of situations, interested parties have been able to use the courts to challenge the validity of the rules and regs. Also, and again contrary to the implication of the fear-mongers, these issues are not unique to the current administration.

            Also, before an agency can impose fines or other financial penalties, the agency must provide notice and an opportunity for a hearing. The hearing is not before an Article III judge of a federal court, but under the Administrative Procedure Act (and the Constitution for that matter), standards of due process must be met in that administrative process and there must be some recourse to the courts for review of the decision.

            It used to be that once the administrative agency issued a final order imposing a fine or other financial sanction, the agency lacked direct authority to collect. The agency and the appropriate U.S. Attorney used to have to go get a court order from a United States District Court in order to actually collect the debt. Now I’m going to use all caps — THIS WAS A RUBBER-STAMP PROCESS. When the agency went to the District Court seeking a collection order, the District Court would not review the merits of the underlying administrative order. Review of the administrative order itself normally to one of the Circuit Courts of Appeal, and absent a stay issued by the appropriate Court of Appeal, the administrative agency could go to the District Court to get a collection order even while that appeal was pending.

            Bottom line — THE DEBT COLLECTION IMPROVEMENT ACT DOESN’T CHANGE ANYTHING. PEOPLE WERE EQUALLY SUBJECT TO GETTING SCREWED BEFORE.

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi John,

            You claimed without providing evidence:

            “There is no process for creating new rules and regulations by “PRESIDENTIAL EXECUTIVE ORDER” and despite what some of the fear-mongers out there claim, it has not been happening.”

            Perhaps not I have read that the current administration drafted many executive orders pertaining to gun control issues and the Affordable Care Act. You claim in previous posts some legal knowledge. Are you willing at this time to assert, providing your full identification, that none of the executive orders drafted by either this or previous administrations created any new rules and/or regulations circumscribing the actions of U.S. citizens? If not your statement will prove merely hot air!

            You go on to assert in direct contradiction of historical precedent:

            “Also, the rules and regulations need to be based on a congressional grant of authority that allows for promulgation of regulations on that subject.”

            Really! Perhaps I’m mistaken but I understand that the Affordable Care Act legislation signed by president Obama hadn’t been signed by both Houses of Congress. The legislation signed by both houses differed. If I remember correctly, this issue later came before the court which then ruled imo unconstitutionally that the legislation still had the force of law.

            You go on to boast:

            “Also, and again contrary to the implication of the fear-mongers, these issues are not unique to the current administration.”

            Every administration has it’s problems. However, please provide a prior example of legislation passed into law without having passed both houses of congress.

            You then further claimed:

            “Also, before an agency can impose fines or other financial penalties, the agency must provide notice and an opportunity for a hearing. The hearing is not before an Article III judge of a federal court, but under the Administrative Procedure Act (and the Constitution for that matter), standards of due process must be met in that administrative process and there must be some recourse to the courts for review of the decision.”

            Fine it would be nice to have a little due process involved with the COLLECTION of imposed fines or other financial penalties as well.

            You then tried to push away the issue by asserting:

            It used to be that once the administrative agency issued a final order imposing a fine or other financial sanction, the agency lacked direct authority to collect. The agency and the appropriate U.S. Attorney used to have to go get a court order from a United States District Court in order to actually collect the debt. Now I’m going to use all caps — THIS WAS A RUBBER-STAMP PROCESS.”

            Whether or not it proved in practice to be a “RUBBER-STAMP PROCESS” I want a court review of any action taken by the EPA prior to implementation as part of due process.

            You then claimed:

            “When the agency went to the District Court seeking a collection order, the District Court would not review the merits of the underlying administrative order.”

            Perhaps they should, in any case again we should expect due process involved with every action taken. The mere fact that past action proved inadequate doesn’t logically impel us to accept that no action should be taken. None of us should have to be expected to trust any government agency or their actions. They should all be subject to thorough review by outside parties including other government bodies.

            Have a great day!

          • JohnKl says:

            My statement should have read:

            “None of us should have to be expected to merely trust any government agency or their actions.”

            Have a great day!

  18. Karen Burton says:

    Appreciate your updates. As an investigative reporter, I’m adding you to my resources. And feel free to pass on links to my weekly column, “A View from the Right,” in ALPENHORN NEWS, Crestline, CA. Go to website, on the side is a list of the stories, click on “View,” and read. New series this week is “Supreme Court Slams Obama.” Looking forward to supporting the cause.

  19. Robertv says:

    If I ‘hire’ some beavers to build a beaver dam would that be legal.

  20. John says:

    JohnKl said:

    “Human action itself including the disposition of toxic material is not unjust. Releasing toxic material into the environment (from which it originated) need not be unjust unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property.”

    1) Go drink a glass of gasoline and then come back and let me know if you feel the same way about the disposition of toxic material.

    2) Also, it’s good to know that if I get plastered, plow into your car and paralyze me, you won’t sue. After all, I will be to drunk to form any intent to hurt anyone, and you only think that people should be held accountable when they act with knowledge and intent to harm.

    I want to live in your world.

    • JohnKl says:

      Hi John,

      After my previous response to your post, if you retain any doubt that excessive quantities of any element known can be TOXIC, please read the following:

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-oxygen-dilemma/

      Yes even oxygen may prove toxic! Will wonders never cease! The fact remains, the carbon paranoids on this blog and elsewhere have no rational basis for labeling carbon dioxide either a pollutant, toxic or whatever than they would the oxygen you require for every day life. Any mere element or compound in excess may prove harmful.

      Oh! Allow me a correction to my previous post. One of the sentences should have read:

      “You’ll probably whine back to me that you drive a Tesla, buy organic cleaners and pretend to be pure as the driven snow.”

      Thanks for all consideration and have a great day!

  21. JohnKl says:

    Hi John,

    You rant:

    “1) Go drink a glass of gasoline and then come back and let me know if you feel the same way about the disposition of toxic material.”

    Truly sad retort. However, you may wish to try a high octane Baccardi to improve your commentary. Can’t say it will help your reasoning any, not that anything necessarily will.

    You then further complained:

    “2) Also, it’s good to know that if I get plastered, plow into your car and paralyze me, you won’t sue. After all, I will be to drunk to form any intent to hurt anyone, and you only think that people should be held accountable when they act with knowledge and intent to harm.”

    Interesting that you suggest getting drunk implies no knowledge or intent! Personally, I wouldn’t advise you to get drunk your subsequent actions would likely speak volumes about your intent. Earlier I wrote:

    “Releasing toxic material into the environment (from which it originated) need not be unjust unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property.

    There exists an old expression “too much of anything will kill you.” Merely releasing any substance into the environment does not imply any possible injustice at all unless you’re willing to pay for all the harmful contaminants you release into the environment everyday, including when you drive your car, wash your clothes and/or dishes, use any material made from processes that release said substances, etc., etc., edc.! Why? Again any substance in proper concentration will prove harmful! Personally given your rhetorical excesses and reasoning capacity I doubt you will. You’ll probably whine back to me that you drive a Tesla, by organic cleaners and pretend to be pure as the driven snow. This all the while using an electronic computing device constructed of many materials which if improperly used will have TOXIC consequences. In any case, an unintentional or even accidental action can have unjust consequences but it ‘need not’ or in other words simply releasing a substance commonly thought of as toxic into the environment need not be unjust.

    OMG, did you check the PVC under your house?! Have you counted the particles of arsenic in your drinking water lately? When you wake up and realize you live in a chemical soup let us know, I’m sure you’ll probably want to blame it on someone.

    Have a great day!

    • John says:

      I am not a green freak.

      However, you made some absurd blanket statements and I was just showing how absurd they are. Toxic materials are not all “natural,” and even if they are “natural,” that does not make them harmless. Improper disposal of such materials can harm people and property and I think it’s entirely responsible that we regulate such activity on the front end because by the time harm comes to light, it can be too late to punish those responsible.

      Also, you said that people should only be punished for intentional/knowing acts. Setting aside whether harm resulting from drunk driving results from intentional/knowing acts, the law holds that people can be held liable based on negligence — i.e., failure to exercise reasonable care. And that’s the way it should be. Someone shouldn’t be able to say “oops, I didn’t mean to hurt you” and then escape liability.

      • JohnKl says:

        Hi John,

        Thanks for the reply, but your reasoning seems even more problematic. You claimed:

        “However, you made some absurd blanket statements and I was just showing how absurd they are. Toxic materials are not all “natural,” and even if they are “natural,” that does not make them harmless.”

        Please quote the absurd blanket statement. You haven’t shown the absurdity of anything and can’t until you clearly define your terms. For example, when did I use the term “natural.” All known elements and compound derive from the atomic table which exists in our environment. The toxicity of any given element or compound will depend on different factors including concentration, quantity and the varying capability of organisms to tolerate it.

        You then claimed:

        “Also, you said that people should only be punished for intentional/knowing acts.”

        Really? My statement read:

        “Releasing toxic material into the environment (from which it originated) need not be unjust unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property.”

        Your assertion has already been addressed. Please re-read my statement and the previous post. If you still have difficulty a course in reading comprehension may be in order.

        Thanks again and have a great day!

        • John says:

          You quote your own absurd blanket statement:

          “Releasing toxic material into the environment (from which it originated) need not be unjust unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property.”

          This actually contains numerous absurdities. Let’s break it down:

          1. “Releasing toxic material into the environment (from which it originated)” — Your use of this phrase carries connotes or at least implies that all toxic materials are natural and not the result of human activity. This is simply false. The fact that you did not explicitly use the term “natural” does not change the implication or connotation of your statement. While source materials may come from nature, human make plenty of chemicals that are either not found in nature. Yes, everything in nature is made up of elements on the periodic table, but human activity combines and concentrates those elements in new ways. My example of gasoline stands. All the constituent elements are found in nature, but you aren’t going to find any naturally occurring concentration of it. Whether you drink it or dump it out, some measure of harm is going to occur.

          2. This phrase also implies that the material is being returned to the source from which it originated. However, naturally-occurring toxic materials (petroleum, for example) are generally (with some exception like the La Brea tar pits & oil sands) sequestered physically and/or chemically such that they won’t harm anyone. Even in the case of a naturally occurring substance, “Releasing toxic material into the environment” is not necessarily the equivalent of returning the material to the place and form in which it was found.

          3. “need not be unjust unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property” — This part of the statement asserts that people should only be responsible for their knowing or intentional acts. The flip side of this is that it would completely absolves people of the results of their own negligence. If someone stores bunch of gasoline on their property, the barrels rust, and my well water gets contaminated, I think that person should be held liable even if they didn’t know the barrels were rusting. By the plain meaning of your own statement, you would absolve that individual. And to the extent you try to claim that the person should be held responsible because they “knowingly” stored the material, you are playing semantic games to avoid admitting that you are wrong.

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi John,

            Once again your comments lack rational content. You state:

            “Releasing toxic material into the environment (from which it originated)” — Your use of this phrase carries connotes or at least implies that all toxic materials are natural and not the result of human activity. This is simply false…
            Yes, everything in nature is made up of elements on the periodic table, but human activity combines and concentrates those elements in new ways. My example of gasoline stands. All the constituent elements are found in nature, but you aren’t going to find any naturally occurring concentration of it. Whether you drink it or dump it out, some measure of harm is going to occur.”

            Hmmh! Truly laughable. All toxic materials do in fact derive from nature. Last I checked the human beings who produce gasoline which consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, (actually a mix of alkane chemicals including heptane) are part of NATURE and so must the compounds they generate! Btw, gasoline used to be dumped into lakes as waste by petroleum companies prior their use in automobiles. In addition, you once again distorted what I claimed. I mentioned that releasing toxic material into the environment “need not” be unjust, never did I claim that it COULD NOT be unjust! Just for the record I release gasoline into the environment many days throughout the week by burning it in my automobile and do not see myself anymore unjust than yourself who likely do the same. Oh! you may wish to consider the VOC’s and other toxic chemicals released into the environment with the purpose of generating electricity to run your computer and operate the grid from which you make inane comments. Hopefully those compounds don’t cause harm, but can anyone guarantee it. Heck windmills prove dangerous if not toxic to birds! Oh! If you find NATURAL chemicals so much less toxic, you may wish to consider COAL! It’s natural and has known toxic effects from both combustion and natural inhalation of it’s dust. I repeat with some modification my earlier statement in regards to an old aphorism. Too much of anything as found in nature or derived from nature and altered by humans will kill.

            You further blurt:

            “This phrase also implies that the material is being returned to the source from which it originated. However, naturally-occurring toxic materials (petroleum, for example) are generally (with some exception like the La Brea tar pits & oil sands) sequestered physically and/or chemically such that they won’t harm anyone.”

            Never did I even come close to implying that the toxic material returned to anything at all let alone the source from which it originated. If you meant to say RETURN TO NATURE that phrase proves meaningless since it NEVER LEFT NATURE! In addition to a course in reading comprehension you may consider therapy to deal with your pension for projection. The second part of your statement appears equally strange. You may wish to consult with the staff of the La Brea natural history section of the museum (I’ve been there myself many times) they’ve claimed animals occasionally wander in and die in those tar pits and surround them with a fence to prevent animals and people from wandering in and being harmed. Prior to the museum people very well could stumble in. Birds still do at times. If you suggest that somehow nature protects us from the toxic stuff it has done so with often with HUMAN INTERVENTION! However, I agree with the larger meaning of your statement that nature appears designed to protect the life on it’s surface. Humans do tend to mess it up, aka dis-order from order.

            You further stated again without rational coherence:

            ““need not be unjust unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property” — This part of the statement asserts that people should only be responsible for their knowing or intentional acts.”

            Hmmh! Once again your command of the language appears less than adequate. The term “need not” means “does not have to.” The phrase could be re-written:

            “Releasing toxic material into the environment (from which it originated) does not have to be unjust unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property.”

            In other words, releasing toxic material into the environment may or may-not be unjust unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property.
            Seriously, did you ever pass high school English? Your mistake proves inexcusable on a moments reflection since in my previous post I stated:

            “In any case, an unintentional or even accidental action can have unjust consequences but it ‘need not’ or in other words simply releasing a substance commonly thought of as toxic into the environment need not be unjust.”

            Your seemingly continuous and consistent attempt to force words into my statements that DON’T EXIST appears to border on dishonesty if not pathology. Nevertheless, I hope you have a great day!

          • John K says:

            Hi John,

            Please note in addition to my statements below a point of clarification. When we refer to the term “justice” I refer to human relationships and/or interaction (i.e.- how we treat other human beings). In my view causing harm to other life forms or altering the inanimate world does not inherently pertain to justice. If it did farmers (including organic ones) would be great villains as they routinely kill innumerable plants and animals in the mere course of business. If you don’t believe me please examine the history of Nazi eco-whackos who sought to re-wild the farmlands (return the land to nature). It really shouldn’t surprise anyone that eco-justice so often entails human in-justice.

            Have a great day!

          • John K says:

            Hi John

            My statement:

            “Please note in addition to my statements below a point of clarification.”

            Should read:

            “Please note in addition to my statements above a point of clarification.”

            Have a great day!

  22. bob paglee says:

    Dr. Roy, I watched a video replay of your fascinating and sometimes amusing presentation at the IPPC conference on July 9(?) It would be great to see it again but it’s gone now. hy don’t you resurrect it if that’s possible and post it here so others can watch it for awhile?

  23. John says:

    JohnKl:

    1) I am not claiming that anything “natural” must be harmless and never expressed such a sentiment. To the contrary, you are the one who has repeatedly said that toxic substances are natural in origin, and then use that to imply that “return” of such substances to nature is ok.

    2) You are the one who appears to lack understanding of how the English language works. I quote once again:

    “Releasing toxic material into the environment (from which it originated) need not be unjust unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property.”

    If all you said was “Releasing toxic material into the environment (from which it originated) need not be unjust” then you might have a leg to stand on. You would have made a general statement leaving open a lot of possibilities for circumstances in which the release of toxic material might be unjust.

    However, you didn’t stop there. Instead, you continued with the phrase “unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property.” You stated a SINGLE CIRCUMSTANCE — i.e., acting with knowledge or intent to harm — in which the release of toxic material could be unjust.

    Notably, you did NOT qualify this statement by indicating that it is only one of many possible circumstances in which the the release of toxics could be unjust. Therefore, a plain reading of your statement is that you believe the ONLY circumstance in which the release of toxics could be unjust is when it is done with knowledge and intent to harm.

    I find your attempts to insult me pretty funny–when someone has to resort to ad hominem attacks it shows they are lacking on the merits.

    3) Setting aside the issue of interpretation and getting back to the more substantive issue, you now acknowledge that the release of toxic substances CAN be unjust even if not done with knowledge and intent to harm.

    I agree. And because the release of toxics can be unjust even when there is no knowledge and intent to harm, I personally believe that there should be some reasonable level of government regulation over that activity. I don’t want to return to the days in which it was ok to “dump gasoline into lakes”.

    But that does not mean that I think we need to dismantle human civilization. It’s quite disturbing that you are trying to ascribe a bunch of whacked-out stereotypes simply because I have expressed an opinion that disposal of toxic substances should be subject to some level of regulation.

  24. JohnKl says:

    Hi John,

    Once again you persist in irrational leaps of logic and in one instance apparent dishonesty.

    You claimed:

    “To the contrary, you are the one who has repeatedly said that toxic substances are natural in origin, and then use that to imply that “return” of such substances to nature is ok.”

    If toxic substances are not natural, how exactly are they unnatural? Did they originate outside our universe?! Btw some of the most toxic substances known are quite natural by anyone’s presumed standard and found in nature including blowfish venom or vegans may prefer hemlock. A drop of blowfish venom on the head of a pin is supposedly enough to kill several people. As I mentioned and you apparently ignored or lack the requisite cognizant skills to comprehend returning toxic substances to nature proves meaningless because they never “left” nature!

    You proceed to complain without any evidence:

    “If all you said was “Releasing toxic material into the environment (from which it originated) need not be unjust” then you might have a leg to stand on. You would have made a general statement leaving open a lot of possibilities for circumstances in which the release of toxic material might be unjust.”

    My statement holds up whether or not toxic material is released into the environment from which it origniated! Your pointless addition adds nothing to the content of the statement. My statement already left open the possibility that that the release of toxic material might be unjust. Re-read my previous post and prior ones.

    You further stated:

    “…“unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property.” You stated a SINGLE CIRCUMSTANCE — i.e., acting with knowledge or intent to harm — in which the release of toxic material could be unjust.”

    No, I presented a circumstance – i.e., acting with knowledge or intent to harm – in which the release of toxic material almost CERTAINLY would be unjust. It cannot be merely a single circumstance since I never claimed it to be the only circumstance. In other situations the release of toxic material “need not” be unjust but definitely could be.

    You further state with little if any rational basis:

    “Notably, you did NOT qualify this statement by indicating that it is only one of many possible circumstances in which the the release of toxics could be unjust.”

    Yes I did. The first part of the statement that the release of toxic material “need not” be unjust implies it. Again the statement did not read “cannot” be unjust.

    “Therefore, a plain reading of your statement is that you believe the ONLY circumstance in which the release of toxics could be unjust is when it is done with knowledge and intent to harm.”

    Your mistaken understanding of the text does not seem to be a plain reading. You further claimed:

    “3) Setting aside the issue of interpretation and getting back to the more substantive issue, you now acknowledge that the release of toxic substances CAN be unjust even if not done with knowledge and intent to harm.”

    I never denied it. You simply asserted it without any basis in logic or fact.

    You further state:

    “I personally believe that there should be some reasonable level of government regulation over that activity. I don’t want to return to the days in which it was ok to “dump gasoline into lakes”.”

    Hmmh! Finally you made a statement for which I generally speaking agree. Well constructed regulations to protect life and property do fall within proper government jurisdiction.

    You then state:

    “It’s quite disturbing that you are trying to ascribe a bunch of whacked-out stereotypes simply because I have expressed an opinion that disposal of toxic substances should be subject to some level of regulation.”

    Perhaps, but you sloppily use terms like “natural” and leap to irrational conclusions based on the meaning of imprecise terms. For example, the term “released into the environment” can mean many different things to different people. The environment could conceivably be anywhere. A smoker releases toxic material into the “environment” with every exhaled puff whether he does so in the quiet of his own home or in a forest. In any case, my conflict with your statements does not derive from your desire that toxic substances should be subject to some level of regulation. Personally, I don’t want gasoline dumped in lakes I use either.

    Have a great day!

    • John says:

      1) You are the one who raised the issue of whether or not toxic substances are “natural,” not me. And I have never claimed that all toxic substances are “unnatural.” And I really don’t understand why you continue to make an issue of it.

      2) When someone says “x except when y” the plain interpretation is “x except when y.”

      You said “x except when y.” You now assert your statement meant “x except when y or z.”

      Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. If you meant “x except when y or z” you should have said “x except when y or z.”

      3) You now say:

      “In any case, my conflict with your statements does not derive from your desire that toxic substances should be subject to some level of regulation.”

      Your earlier posts did not reflect this sentiment.

      Goodbye.

      • JohnKl says:

        Hi John,

        You claimed:

        “You are the one who raised the issue of whether or not toxic substances are “natural,” not me.”

        Hmmh! Maybe I’m mistaken the first time I remember the term “natural” being introduced happened when you claimed on July 16, 2014:

        “I am not a green freak.

        However, you made some absurd blanket statements and I was just showing how absurd they are. Toxic materials are not all “natural,” and even if they are “natural,” that does not make them harmless.”

        You then confusedly stated:

        “When someone says “x except when y” the plain interpretation is “x except when y.”

        You said “x except when y.” You now assert your statement meant “x except when y or z.”

        Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. If you meant “x except when y or z” you should have said “x except when y or z.””

        I meant precisely what I stated. For the apparently scholastically/academically challenged I will attempt to repeat what has already been made abundantly clear. The term “need not” is a shortened phrase meaning “does not need to” or “don’t need to.” This differs completely in meaning and intent from the phrase “cannot.” Earlier you stated:

        ““need not be unjust unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property” — This part of the statement asserts that people should only be responsible for their knowing or intentional acts.”

        No! For you’re claim to be true the statement would have to read something like:

        -Releasing toxic material into the environment (from which it originated) cannot be unjust unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property.-

        I never made that claim. My statement read:

        “Releasing toxic material into the environment (from which it originated) need not be unjust unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property.”

        So yes if x then y. Releasing toxic material into the environment (from which it originated) doesn’t need to be unjust (although it certainly could be and nothing stated so far has denied it) unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property (in which case it almost certainly will be unjust). If you still have trouble with the statement please consult any grammar book and/or dictionary.

        You then assert:

        You now say:

        ““In any case, my conflict with your statements does not derive from your desire that toxic substances should be subject to some level of regulation.”

        Your earlier posts did not reflect this sentiment.”

        Please quote anything I claimed earlier to the contrary.

        In any case, my main concern initially did not have to do with legitimate regulation but the process of using executive orders.

        Thank you and have a great day!

        • John says:

          1) Yes, I used the term “natural.” However, that’s not the point. The point is that I never said that “natural” things are inherently good, or that toxic materials somehow aren’t “natural.” YOU are the one who went off on this weird tangential issue with no prompting from me.

          2) This has nothing to do with the meaning of “need not.”

          The issue is that the term “unless” creates a conditional phrase, and YOU ONLY LISTED ONE CONDITION (arguably two since you used the “and/or” conjunction):

          If you intended the conditional phrase to encompass more conditions than those listed, you needed to either: (a) list all the conditions; or (b) somehow indicate that the list of conditions was incomplete. You did neither. Therefore, the only fair reading of your statement is that you intended it as a complete list.

          Your current attempt to claim that your conditional phrase encompassed more than just the conditions listed is either a desperate attempt at revisionist history, or it shows that you don’t know how conditional phrases work. Which is it?

          3) Challenge accepted. You said:

          “The EPA and other regulatory agencies circumscribe many things/activities that have little if anything to do with achieving JUSTICE. To claim so imo proves prima facia absurd!”

          You were talking about regulatory agencies generally here with nary a mention of “executive orders.” But based on what has transpired so far, I bet you come back and claim that you really were talking about executive orders.

          This all reminds me of an exchange from Alice in Wonderland:

          “Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on.

          “I do,” Alice hastily replied; “at least–at least I mean what I say–that’s the same thing, you know.”

          “Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “You might just as well say that “I see what I eat” is the same thing as “I eat what I see”!”

          Following the advice of the March Hare, you should say what you mean. Then there will be much less chance of someone misunderstanding you.

          • John K says:

            Hi John,

            You claimed:

            “1) Yes, I used the term “natural.” However, that’s not the point. The point is that I never said that “natural” things are inherently good, or that toxic materials somehow aren’t “natural.””

            Hmmh! It is the point. You initially claimed:

            “1) You are the one who raised the issue of whether or not toxic substances are “natural,” not me.”

            This appears not to be the case. In addition, you did claim contrary to this recent post that all man made toxic materials are not NATURAL! You wrote:

            ““Releasing toxic material into the environment (from which it originated)” — Your use of this phrase carries connotes or at least implies that all toxic materials are natural and not the result of human activity. This is simply false.”

            Btw, I never claimed that all toxic materials did not result from human activity. Please provide the quote. As a point of clarity let me just say that I do not view materials derived from human activity as unnatural or not derived from nature.

            You later claimed:

            “The issue is that the term “unless” creates a conditional phrase, and YOU ONLY LISTED ONE CONDITION (arguably two since you used the “and/or” conjunction):”

            You’re correct. You asked:

            “Your current attempt to claim that your conditional phrase encompassed more than just the conditions listed is either a desperate attempt at revisionist history, or it shows that you don’t know how conditional phrases work. Which is it?”

            I didn’t properly consider the conditional nature of the phrase. Please accept my apologies for my previous statements.

            You then claimed:

            “3) Challenge accepted. You said:

            “The EPA and other regulatory agencies circumscribe many things/activities that have little if anything to do with achieving JUSTICE. To claim so imo proves prima facia absurd!”

            You were talking about regulatory agencies generally here with nary a mention of “executive orders.” But based on what has transpired so far, I bet you come back and claim that you really were talking about executive orders.”

            Frankly, that wasn’t the challenge. Recall the following:

            “““In any case, my conflict with your statements does not derive from your desire that toxic substances should be subject to some level of regulation.”

            Your earlier posts did not reflect this sentiment.”

            Please quote anything I claimed earlier to the contrary.”

            You still did not quote anything in conflict with the need for some level of regulation. Many regulations in addition to executive orders may be problematic or conceivably illegitimate. In addition, your quote proves selective since I did mention:

            “Giving a state agency power to seize property without court order or sanction certainly seems like an intrusive precedent to me, especially if used to enforce PRESIDENTIAL EXECUTIVE ORDERS outside of congressional approval.”

            As to Mad Hatters and saying what you mean, point taken. However, please reference your first quote above.

            Thank you and have a great day!

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi John,

            The statement you commented on earlier remains valid even given the conditional nature it has. Therefore, again I must stand by my following statement absolutely:

            “Releasing toxic material into the environment (from which it originated) need not be unjust unless done with the knowledge and intent to damage human life and/or property.”

            There remains a problem with your critique despite the conditional nature of my statement. While I may have misinterpreted the meaning of “unless” you have completely failed in understanding the terms “nature” (as shown in my other post) and “just.” By definition of the term just (based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair), a just or unjust action presupposes knowledge and intent. You assumed without any rational foundation that because I claimed that releasing toxic material into the environment may not be unjust that a person would not be held accountable for it. That is patently absurd.

            Any action, just or unjust, may result in damage to an innocent third party that may require just compensation. Allow me to illustrate. A person playing say gold or baseball may hit a ball in the course of the game. The action itself will not be unjust. They merely hit a ball. Let’s presuppose the ball is deflected by a tree branch, smashes into a car window and does financial damage. The person did not do anything UNJUST. Nevertheless, the owner of the vehicle will justly demand compensation. This holds true with environmental issues including the use and release of toxic substances. For example, consider natural gas. Say a utility runs a natural gas pipeline to homes in their local. The justly meet all the codes and safety requirements. Their action will prove in no way unjust. Yet they will in fact release known toxic elements into the environment at the distribution site (hydrogen sulfide is a known poison and comprises one of the several alkane compounds found in natural gas). Suppose an earthquake occurs and natural gas is released into the environment someone walks by, lights a match and causes an explosion resulting in not only in his own death, but many other people as well and property damage. Again the natural gas company in my opinion did nothing unjust. Nevertheless, they and/or their insurance carrier will be required to pay just compensation to the victims and/or their families.

            So yes releasing toxic material need not be unjust! Btw, nature allows the release of natural gas (80% methane), and petroleum with considerable known toxicity into the environment all the time! According to an internet publication:

            “SOS California identifies offshore Santa Barbara as having “the second largest marine oil seeps in the world.” Centered around an area referred to as Coal Oil Point, some 10,000 gallons of crude oil seep from approximately 1,200 fissures in the ocean floor in any given 24-hour period.”

            http://news.yahoo.com/natural-oil-seeps-harm-birds-off-california-coast-230800199.html

            Have a great day!

          • JohnKl says:

            Hi John,

            In light of what I stated below, I must clarify an earlier statement I made to the effect:

            “3) Setting aside the issue of interpretation and getting back to the more substantive issue, you now acknowledge that the release of toxic substances CAN be unjust even if not done with knowledge and intent to harm.”

            I never denied it. You simply asserted it without any basis in logic or fact.”

            In fact, the act can be unjust if he merely has the knowledge and intent that it may have a likelihood of causing harm even though the direct intention is not to do so directly.

            Have a great day!

          • John K says:

            Hi John,

            Please note my noticed my last clarification didn’t help too much. I stated:

            “3) Setting aside the issue of interpretation and getting back to the more substantive issue, you now acknowledge that the release of toxic substances CAN be unjust even if not done with knowledge and intent to harm.”

            I never denied it. You simply asserted it without any basis in logic or fact.”

            In fact, my statement did deny it and as I noted above I still do. My statement here is incorrect. My apology. To clarify, the release of toxic substances can be HARMFUL and the person responsible possibly liable even if not done unjustly with the knowledge and intent to harm. Hopefully that clarifies things.

            In addition, my statement that “…you have completely failed in understanding the terms “nature” and “just”” is too strong, it appears to have a great deal of validity but I will await your reply.

            Thank you and have a great day!

  25. JohnKl says:

    Hi Roy,

    May God bless all the GOOD work the EPA does, if any!

    Have a great day!