Comment by Melissa In Texas — July 31, 2012 @ 9:13 am
“Harrington built two 10-foot dams and one 20-foot dam which block a tributary to the Big Butte River, which he denies. He says his dams collect rainwater and snow runoff on his own property.
However,in 2007 Harrington entered a guilty plea for illegally withdrawing water from the tributaries, receiving three years probation for his act and ordered to open his dam gates again. He did so, only to close them back up a short time later to refill his reservoirs. Because of his refusal to meet the conditions of his probation, the water department filed this recent lawsuit.”
This is not the case of someone guttering rain from his roof to a barrel or cistern. I’m thinking that any state would not permit what he did and the feds sure as hell wouldn’t if they knew about it. Here in Kentucky, even the blue line streams are controlled as far as impounding, impeding or changing the course of one.
I’m not going to argue that the state is right but it’s pretty evident this guy acted willfully knowing he was in violation.
MiT (3): I read your link. (Not that I felt more cheerful after having done so.)
I agree with what you said, of course, although it occurs to me that it is more the small business / entrepreneur type agricultural activities that are becoming criminal offenses — in some respect the huge corporate operations are doing (somewhat) better, thanks to their money and political connections.
But the underlying story is the general overreach of government (at the local level* as well as further up the government food chain), the increasing cultural acceptance that government has the right to intrude into every aspect of private lives, and the increasing inclination of feckless and mean spirited citizens to use that intrusion against their neighbors.
The part I’ve read so far is 1933 Germany. Within weeks of Nazis gaining power, citizens are busy denouncing each other over personal pique. (eg: “That shop keeper disagreed with me about the amount of change in a purchase, clearly he has Jewish sympathies and needs to be denounced, arrested and his shop smashed up.”) This can only happen when there’s a government that entertains denunciations and a culture that tolerates it….
…and the reality is: if there is government machinery that permits (encourages?) it, then the culture will soon support it, as the meanest spirited and most emotionally blighted of the populace takes advantage of government to vent their personal spleen and selfish agendas.
Part of the problem here is the size of government at every level. Due to the appetite of bureaucracies to grow themselves through ever increasing regulation, there are a great deal to many government employees. A majority of the regulations need to be voided, and the enabling bureaucrats turned out to seek employment in fast food establishments or in whatever other endeavors that are suitable for them based on their real talents.
* Local and state governments are the tributaries that feed the mighty river of federal government. While it is absolutely necessary to roll back the federal government, it is a mistake to overlook local and state government — the foundation on which the larger government is built, and the place from which federal-level politicians come in the first place.
Comment by Ironic in Denver — July 31, 2012 @ 10:11 am
Harrington says “his dams collect rainwater and snow runoff on his own property.”
We’ll hafta see…
Comment by Claire: pink pig barbarian, etc — July 31, 2012 @ 10:36 am
Once his ponds are filled, the excess runoff still goes down the overflows and down the hill to the river. It seems strange that the locality withdrew the permits after he built the dams.
If there was in fact a continously flowing stream there before he built his dams, then he broke the law. I wonder then if there was any visible flow down the valley between the hills when it was not raining before he built the dams. Applying Corps of Engineers and EPA logic, the paved street in front of our houses is a wetland and a waterway under their jurisdiction, because water runs along it from time to time.
Around here, properly built dams and the farm ponds they create are considered an ecological asset.
Comment by dick, not quite dead white guy — July 31, 2012 @ 10:36 am
In the winter rainwater collects on the top of my pool cover. I pump it off into the pool thereby saving it for next summer’s pool season. I suppose that makes me a water thief?
Story fm my childhood. Crooked Creek meandered along the border of our thousand acre farm, emptying into the river. Full of catfish, fiddlers, perch, bullfrogs and a run for raccoons. One summer when the creek was low, about 5 miles upstream, a Cherman farmer decided he needed a bridge across Crooked Creek. His idea was to pour about a zillion barrels of cement across the creek. Made a purty good bridge but also damned up the fucking creek!
In them days, 5 miles distance was like a continent away; we didn`t know the Chermans an they didn`t know us. Ever body on our farm harvested plenty of meals of catfish & bullfrogs, plus hunted raccoons for which we got a dollar a hide (…it was the 50s and the most popular TV show was Fess Parker as Davy Crocket, King of the wild frontier. Natch, ever kid in America was wearing coonskin hats with the tail! An a fucking dollar was a lot of fucking money!
Did not realize it then, but Grandpa and the hired hands applied Milton Friedman`s “Free to Choose” economic philosophy.
One night, of a sudden, they was a huuge explosion up on Crooked Creek! Coupla day`s later water flowed down Crooked Creek. Some time later, me and my cousin was ah squirrel huntin up Crooked Creek. We come to where the Cherman had poured his concrete bridge. Land Sakes!! Was a sight, I can tell you! They was concrete rocks scattered in the woods, mebbe a quarter mile around where the bridge wuz…. But—-they weren`t no concrete bridge to be seen; just a great big hole in Crooked Creek! [...next year that hole was a right plentiful spot for catfish an fiddlers...]
Me an cousin asked the hired hands why that bridge was a missin? All we got was shoulder shrugs an terbaccy spits. Funny thing though; that winter cousin an me was a messin around in the barn tool shed and come upon a wood box of kinda greasy sticks. A paper stapled to the inside of the lid had the word, “Dynamite” writ on it!
Me an my cousin decided it was *definitely* for blowin tree stumps outa some places in the fields. Yessireebobalouie, that surely was it—-an they weren`t no more reason to be askin no questions about no concrete fucking bridge, neither……………
Comment by Colonel Jerry USMC — July 31, 2012 @ 2:41 pm
Yep, there’s a bunch of supervisors who need supervising out the door and on to the nearest county that will put up with them.
All water rights are homesteaded out here, and not riparian, like they are in the eastern US.
In the east, water belongs to the property owner.
In the west water belongs to the person who first homesteads it. The very first rancher or homesteader has a 100% right to the water he ( or his descendants ) customarily uses, with the second, and subsequent users standing in line behind him.
And yes, he can sell these rights.
When you dam any stream in the western US, all of the people in that watershed with rights has a tort against you.
Gateway Pundit has a piece about how the feds are trying to muscle in on New Mexico’s water supply.
The lawyers told the committee the U.S. government is apparently trying to take over legal management of the state’s water supply. The federal government has asserted claims for damages to groundwater in a natural resource damage case in New Mexico involving Chevron/Molycorp. The claim seeks for those damages to be awarded in the form of future water rights management.