If you had a chance to build your dream or retirement home, where and what would you build? I know some say they would build a home along the coast where they could relax and watch the waves and fish whenever they want. Others would build a place by their favorite lake for pretty much the same reason. And others would build a home in the mountains among the trees and away from the hustle, bustle and noise of city life.
That was the case of 77-year-old Joe Robertson, who built his dream home in the mountains of Montana. Robertson, a retired Navy veteran and his wife Carri, had their dream retirement home until the Obama EPA turned their dream into a nightmare.
Robertson’s land was next to a national forest and due to the poor management of national forests by a government heavily influenced by know-nothing bleeding-heart environmentalists, the risk of forest fires become greater every year. Knowing the danger of fire, in 2013-14, Roberson built a couple of fire protection ponds along the edge of his property near a ditch that was only a foot wide and foot deep. The ponds were filled with water from trucks that hauled it in, since the only other available water was the trickle that ebbed along in the bottom of the ditch.
That’s when the EPA swept in and charged Robertson with violating the Clean Water Act after they declared the ditch to be a ‘navigable’ waterway. The closest real navigable waterway was over 40 miles away, but that didn’t stop the socialist land-grabbing EPA. They also charged that Robertson failed to obtain permission from the Army Corps of Engineers before building his fire protection ponds. Basically, the Obama EPA would rather see the Robertson’s lose everything in a fire than to take action to protect their home.
The EPA took Robertson to court where he was found guilty and sentenced to 18-months in prison AND a fine of $130,000. Since Robertson was unable to pay the fine, the government placed a lien on his property to cover the fine.
Robertson appealed his conviction, but that appeal was in the jurisdiction of the most liberal federal court in American history at the time, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, who upheld the conviction.
With the help of the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), Robertson appealed to the US Supreme Court.
Unfortunately, the proud Navy veteran died in March 2019 before the Supreme Court issued a ruling on his appeal. The Pacific Legal Foundation petitioned the court to allow Robertson’s widow, Carri, to stand in for her deceased husband. In the appeal, PCL argued that Robertson had been unconstitutionally convicted and that the EPA had exceeded their authority in using the Clean Water Act and claiming that the ditch was a navigable waterway.
A month after Joe Robertson passed away, the Supreme Court vacated the ruling of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision to uphold Joe’s conviction. About the fine, the Supreme Court ordered the 9th Circuit Court to verify whether or not Joe’s estate can contest the $130,000 fine, which became a lien against the land.
Hopefully, with the changing face of the 9th Circuit Court, thanks to nominations to fill vacancies on the court by President Donald Trump, the court will agree that the estate can contest the fine and that the fine will be reversed and the lien on the property removed.
What happened to Joe Robertson was not an isolated incident, but a common occurrence under the Obama administration. Numerous land owners were terrorized by Obama’s EPA in their quest to control all land in the nation, especially privately-owned land.
Take the case of Peter and Frankie Smith of New Mexico, another case in which PCL was involved in. Also during the reign of Barack Hussein Obama, the Smiths purchased 20 acres of land outside of Santa Fe in hopes of building their dream home to retire to and live happily ever after. As is typical in any desert landscape there are dry washes and stream beds that cross their land.
In one dry streambed they found lots of trash which they spent time cleaning up and hauling away. As they picked up the discarded tin cans, wine bottles and other items they also smoothed off the bottom of the desert wash and cleaned it up to make it look nice.
That’s when the big bad Army Corps of Engineers moved in and told them that wash was a ‘water of the United States’ and that their cleaning and smoothing of the wash constituted illegal dredging and pollution flow problems that could affect the Rio Grande River, some 25 miles away. By having the wash declared a water of the United States the Smiths were now subject to the rules and regulations of the Clean Water Act, which they were now in violation of according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
With the help of the PCL, the Smith’s won, but not until a long legal battle with the Obama government. These are not the only such cases that the Pacific Legal Foundation has handled.
Socialists like Obama and the rest of today’s Democrats believe that the government should own and control every inch of land within the borders. In fact they don’t believe in privately owned land except their own.
A couple of decades ago, the socialist run United Nations proposed a resolution that would place all land throughout the world under the control of the United Nations, giving them the authority to dictate who could live where and on how much land. At the time this was proposed, the US representative at the UN event was then Sen. Al Gore and he SIGNED the resolution for the US. Fortunately, any foreign treaty or resolution requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate to pass, and there wasn’t near enough votes to approve the resolution.
If you think what was happening to land owners under Obama was bad, wait until Democrats gain control of Congress and the White House. Given the opportunity, they will do to Americans what the UN tried to do to the entire world. If you value the land where you live, even if it’s just a tiny piece of land in a subdivision, understand that Democrats would love to take that away from you and give it someone else who hasn’t paid a penny for it.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.