Most people think of regulation as a nuisance — for an Illinois man trying to do the right thing for himself, his community and the environment, it could mean everything.
Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, tells the story of Stephen Lathrop, who spent hundreds of thousands of his own dollars to save his Granite City, Illinois neighborhood from a recurring flood problem, and in the process turned a dump into a lake.
Because of the severity of the problem, Congress ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to take care of it. The Corps responded with 8 studies, each recommending the creation of lakes and channels to resolve the flooding issue — but they never acted upon them.
That’s when Lathrop took matters into his own hands and created the lake out of the dump. At each step in the process he went through the proper channels and obtained the required permits. When the next flood came, his neighborhood for the first time was spared.
But what happened next will disgust you.
“The Corps decided the dump was a wetland,” Johnson says in the video. It “threatened jail time and fines if he did not convert the lake back into its original state” — a dump.
In 1994, the Army Corps of Engineers referred the matter to the Environmental Protection Agency for prosecution.
Lathrop now “is on the verge of bankruptcy.”
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