The federal government is at it again: fighting to prevent citizens from improving their own property under the alleged authority of the Clean Water Act of 1972.
The latest target of tyranny is Peter and Francoise Smith, a retired couple from Lone Butte, New Mexico.
Here’s the on ramp to the story as provided by the Santa Fe New Mexican:
Peter Smith said the 20 acres the couple bought in 2005 is near old ranch property in Lone Butte. An arroyo crosses about 1,000 feet of the property. Smith said he cleaned up glass bottles, beer cans and other trash from the arroyo, and periodically, he mowed back non-native, fast-growing salt cedar trees.
Smith said deep, eroded ruts in the arroyo threatened to flip over his tractor when he tried to mow. “So I went in and smoothed the ruts over,” he said.
Gallina Arroyo is the name of the little stream that is giving the Smiths so much trouble.
Imagine being the sort of person who takes pride in your property, keeping it clean, being a good steward of the land only to have agents of the federal government come in and accuse you of violating federal law and threatening to fine you for your efforts.
“People dumped garbage down there, and there was a beetle infestation that took out a lot of the piñon,” Peter Smith said, as quoted by the Albuquerque Journal. He added that the some 600 dead trees he was removing were an undeniable fire hazard.
“The salt cedar was getting to the point it was so thick you couldn’t walk through it. So I cleaned up as much as I could and tried to maintain it with a tractor and a Bush Hog,” Smith told the Albuquerque Journal.
Now, imagine that the “law” the feds accuse you of breaking was designed to protect the “waters of the United States” and the dry stream bed you are clearing rarely has water flow through it at all.
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