For Purchasers of Ranches for Sale: Gov’t Compliance is a Necessity

For Purchasers of Ranches for Sale: Gov’t Compliance is a Necessity

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A Wyoming rancher who obtained all the local permits and rights necessary to build a stock pond on his property—along with the approval of the state when it was finished—is now facing millions of dollars in fines because of said ranch construction project. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Andy Johnson of Fort Bridger is being fined because he failed to get his permit from the federal government.

In a 2012 compliance order, the EPA told Johnson he had to revert his property back to its previous condition, before he had the stock pond built. Johnson was given a 30-day window to do so. When he refused to comply, the EPA charged him with fines of $37,000 per day. The total amount of the fine is now over $16 million.

Stock ponds and the Clean Water Act
The fine levied against Johnson, according to the EPA, are because his stock pond violates the Clean Water Act. Johnson and his lawyers are arguing that Congress has specifically exempted stock ponds intended to provide water for animals from the Act— just like the one Johnson built. Speaking to Watchdog.org, Johnathan Wood, a staff attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation said that Johnson was “entirely within his rights and didn’t need federal bureaucrats’ permission” when he built his pond.
The EPA provided a statement to agricultural journal AgFax.com in March 2014, explaining the reason for their actions. In the statement, the EPA acknowledged the stock pond exemption contained in the Clean Water Act, but added that it doesn’t apply to Johnson’s case because the pond exists within the stream channel of Six Mile Creek, which eventually feeds into the Green River in western Wyoming.

“The issue is whether Mr. Johnson qualified for the stock pond exemption. To qualify for this exemption, the pond must actually be used in farming or ranching operations, and it is only exempt to the size the farmer requires it to meet operational needs. Ponds created for aesthetic or other non-farming-related purposes do not qualify for the exemption,” EPA’s statement to AgFax said.

Better management of your Wyoming ranch
For potential buyers of ranches for sale in Wyoming, you increase your chances of avoiding problems such as the one described above when you work with experienced and knowledgeable ranch brokers like Mirr Ranch group. Thanks to their extensive background in law finance, marketing, real estate, and land conservation, such firms are highly qualified not only to help you find the best ranch property for your needs, but also develop a custom ranch management plan that complies with local, state and national requirements.

Sources:
Updated: Wyoming man challenges outrageous EPA fines, Watchdog.org
Landowner engages in clean water act; receives EPA fine, NetRight Daily

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Posted on September 14, 2015, in Info Article. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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