Flashback: That Time The EPA Ruined A Couple's Retirement For Wanting To Build A House

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Feb 20, 2017 3:00 PM
Flashback: That Time The EPA Ruined A Couple's Retirement For Wanting To Build A House

Scott Pruitt is now heading the agency that he targeted in numerous lawsuits for regulatory overreach as Oklahoma’s Attorney General: the Environmental Protection Agency. Many think that Trump’s win could spell the end of climate science, with scientists downloading as much data as they could post-election.

I’m sure the Sierra Cub probably had seizures when Pruitt was confirmed to be the next EPA administrator. Besides the issue of climate change, which I don’t really care about—though it keeps numerous liberals from sleeping at night—it’s the regulatory aspect of this agency that has run amok. Harvard lawyer Laurence Tribe even described its mission under the Obama administration as “constitutionally reckless.”

 Let’s not forget that this government agency's regulations have destroyed people’s lives.

Look at Jill and Jack Barron, who had bought a plot of land in Idaho to build a home for their retirement towards the tail end of the 2000s. A blocked drainage ditch caused the area to flood. Jack used his construction equipment to remove the debris blocking the ditch and the water receded. Then, the EPA came in and more or less ruined their lives. The Barrons were targeted by the agency for violating federal wetland laws. The government took him to court for bringing gravel onto his property. Barron won, but the EPA still said he was facing $37,500 in fines per day if he didn’t restore the property to its original state, which again was a flooded  due to a blocked drainage pipe. In the end, the retired couple has pretty much lost everything. They had to sell their other house and spend most of their time in Arizona away from their family. During the summer, they can live on the property, which has a modified trailer home on it, with limited plumbing and no electricity. The government destroyed everything Jack had worked for his whole life. What's maddening is that the country signed off all the Barrons' permits. They noted no zoning restrictions. There was nothing to suggest that this was a wetland…because it wasn’t. During his trial, Mr. Barron had soil scientists and former members of the Army Corp of Engineers testify on his behalf saying that his property was not a wetland.

Prior to being dragged into court by the federal government, Jill Barron said that they did all that was asked of them by the EPA to avoid such a legal entanglement. The government raked them over the coals anyway.

“It’s your worse nightmare to be served a piece of paper that says the United States of America vs. Jack Barron,” said Mr. Barron.

Fox Business’s John Stossel and Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Right On Crime had segments on the Barron’s plight in 2012 and 2014 respectively. So, as liberal whine about Pruitt being the new EPA chief, I say Godspeed, sir. This agency needs to be reined in for a haircut.