IVA sock-puppet defends Moses for violating water lawAug 4th, 2008 | By H. Lukas Green | Category: Uncategorized
I never thought I would get the chance to put Moses and Bryan Fischer in the same sentence â€“ especially if it involves water. And I’m not talking about parting the Red Sea; I’m talking about his latest attempt to defend someone who dredged a streambed in direct violation of federal law.
Idaho’s bat-brained leader of the lunatic fringe is shifting his message points away from his favorite topic of queer-bashing and is now attempting to focus on water and energy issues. Fischer, the shaman blowhard who heads the so-called Idaho Values Alliance, is now defending a man who was found guilty of damaging a federal waterway and contaminating it in order to accommodate a subdivision he is constructing.
Fischer, who knows as much about federal water law and environmental compliance as George W. Bush knows about telling the truth, is now trying to make C. Lynn Moses out to be a victim of the big bad government.
Moses was found guilty of three felony charges for violating the 1972 Clean Water Act for knowingly discharging sand, gravel and other fill material into Teton Creek without a permit. He dredged the streambed in order to facilitate the construction of the Aspens Subdivision starting in the 1980s.
Moses was told he could not alter Teton Creek without required permits under the Clean Water Act. But Fischer’s friend ignored the warnings and he went ahead to reroute and reshape the creek. He did this for more than 20 years – dumping gravel, dirt and logs into the creek and deepening the channel.
Yet, Fischer makes Moses out to be a victim on his website by stating: “His crime? Protecting the city of Driggs from flooding.”
Balance that absurd statement against what the Jim Werntz, Environmental Protection Agency’s Idaho operations director told Associated Press: Werntz said federal officials “will meet with Teton County, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and homeowners in the Driggs subdivision whose residences may be in danger of flooding because of the illegal stream alteration work done by Moses.”
Fischer even attempts to hoist Moses up as an expert on stream conditions, while overlooking the fact that he was in direct violation of the law! The local dimwit said that Moses “walked the entire length of the creek to evaluate conditions. . .” The stream is known as an intermittent stream because it runs seasonally due to runoff conditions, but according to Fischer we should all trust the judgment of his developer friend, not the law.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill said, “We . . . do not necessarily exclude seasonal rivers, which contain continuous flow during some months of the year but no flow during dry months . . .”
Judge Winmill went on to say, “to ignore all demands by the EPA and the Corps that he comply with the Clean Water Act . . . And while his sang-froid (or even contempt) in the face of agency demands may show either courage or foolhardiness, it does not save him from the consequences of his actions.”
This can only mean one thing; Judge Winmill must be an “activist judge” because he ruled against a man who ignored the law in spite of repeated warnings.
To hear Fischer cry about it you would think it’s all the “big bad government” coming after an innocent man who tried to save Driggs from flooding by dredging a streambed.
The ruling also means that Moses will have to obey a 2004 order issued by the EPA that orders him to repair the damage he caused to the streambed and restore the wetlands once he is released from prison.
Fischer’s buddy was ordered in 1995 by the Corps of Engineers to stop his dredge and fill operations in the Teton Creek. Records also show that the feds issued follow-up letters in 1996 and 1997. The developer ignored requirements to apply for the permits in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Moses also violated a 2004 EPA order to stop dumping dredged material into the creek.
Basically, Fischer’s friend decided he was above the law and he got fined. Gee, sounds like something Fischer would be familiar with, doesn’t’ it?
The weekly newspaper in the area, Teton Valley News, reported that a cooperative conservation group known as Friends of the Teton River has to raise money in an effort to undo the damage Moses did to the streambed.
“Friends of the Teton River (FTR) has raised $290,000 towards a one mile long stream channel restoration project on Teton Creek. Grant dollars totaling $175k includes funding from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the National Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the One Fly Foundation (Jackson Hole). Private land owners Floyd Hill and Fran McKibben have provided matching funds of $100,000 towards the improvements.” â€“ Teton Valley News (06/07/2007)
The newspaper went on to say, “The initial damage to Teton Creek was caused by a series of dredgings and alterations to the stream channel. Since the destabilization, a “domino effect” has ensued, with bank loss and erosion occurring in up and downstream directions. Landowners are losing over a foot of bank to the creek each year and face the future potential for flooding, property and habitat loss.”
Moses’ sentence consists of 18 months in prison and a fine of $9,000. He is also ordered to implement a restoration plan for Teton Creek; however, Judge Winmill stayed the sentence pending Moses’ appeal. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the restoration costs at approximately $2.25 million.
Maybe Fischer can use his non-profit political website to pull in some money to orchestrate another media event to bale his friend out of a tough spot. Just imagine the media coverage if Fischer shares a headline with a man called Moses!
Note to Bryan Fischer: Stick to queer-bashing, at least that’s something you’re an expert in!
VIDEO: Friends of Teton River – Teton Creek Restoration Project
“Teton Creek has been heavily degraded by illegal in-stream dredging and channelization by developers, stream dewatering for agricultural use, and destruction of riparian vegetation.”
Jody May-Chang now writes on "As I See It...Reporting from the front lines