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Johnson sent analyses to EPA on stockpond

Posted: Tuesday, Jun 17th, 2014

The stock pond built by Andy Johnson near Millburne came under fire by the EPA. The case is still under investigation. PIONEER FILE PHOTO/Virginia Giorgis


Pioneer Editor

MILLBURNE — Andy Johnson and the Environmental Protection Agency are still working to bring a conclusion to the conflict over Johnson’s construction of a stock pond on the Six Mile Creek near Millburne in 2011.

Johnson said last week (Tuesday morning June 3) he knew “a little bit more since the last time” he talked to the Bridger Valley Pioneer.

Johnson said he initially applied to the State Engineer’s office for his permit in 2011 and was able to build the pond in 2012. He even received a letter from the Engineer’s office, Johnson said, saying he was in good standing with the State as his “pond was exactly exercised as permitted.”

Johnson came under the radar of the EPA and was threatened with fines up to $75,000 a day and criminal and civil charges for the construction of the stock pond.

Last week Johnson said an “expert wetland analysis had been done” which resulted in an 18-page document that was sent to the EPA. The study was done by Ray Kagel, who has a consulting firm in Idaho. Adcording to Johnson, Kagel worked as an EPA 404 enforcement officer for EPA for 20 years.

A call to the Region 8 EPA office in Denver last week resulted in a statement. According to Lisa McClain Vanderpool, EPA, the case is still under investigation.

The statement the Pioneer received is as follows:

EPA staff recently had a productive discussion with Mr. Johnson in which he indicated he will be providing us with information regarding his construction of a dam and pond within the main channel of Six Mile Creek in 2011. EPA is encouraged by this development, as our repeated efforts to communicate with Mr. Johnson and clarify his actions have, until recently, been unsuccessful. EPA will carefully evaluate this information, and all relevant facts, before making final determinations about compliance actions.

EPA’s primary goal in Clean Water Act cases is to work cooperatively with landowners to remedy violations. We are hopeful that Mr. Johnson’s recent willingness to communicate and provide additional information will enable us to achieve that goal.

Mr. Johnson’s construction of a dam within the main channel of Six Mile Creek was done in violation of a well-known and well-established Clean Water Act permitting process administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and EPA. These permits are intended to protect our nation’s surface water resources, and downstream waters and uses, from activities that can introduce pollutants to waterways and permanently alter aquatic habitat and watersheds. EPA understands the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office informed Mr. Johnson of this permitting process during its review of his project in 2011.

For the complete article see the 06-13-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 06-13-2014 paper.

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