Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

California EPA Asserts Shockingly Broad Domain Over Private Property

Posted by M. C. on July 21, 2022

Letter: Blumenfeld tells well owners they now must pay for their own water

by 24Richie

You think you own your home and land? Refuse to pay taxes and you will find out whom is the real owner.

By Ken Kurson

Legend has it that Jed Clampett “was shootin’ at some food / When up through the ground come a bubblin’ crude.”

The Beverly Hillbillies’ transformation into instant millionaires illustrates one of the oldest conceptions in the western world: What’s on your land belongs to you. This idea predates the founding of America. If you find gold in your backyard, that resource belongs to you.

California wants to change that.

A source near San Diego has shared with California Globe a shocking letter that’s quietly being delivered to owners of private wells.

“California is marching toward a world where those with wells on their own property will be required to put a meter on them and pay the government,” writes the source. “Because in their world, the government owns everything and we’re just renters.”

The letter is signed by Natalie Stork, the Chief of Groundwater Management Program Unit 1, and was sent in late July on the letterhead of California Water Boards, under the authority of Gov. Newsom and Jared Blumenfeld, Secretary for Environmental Protection. Buried beneath the bureaucratic acronyms GSA and SGMA (Groundwater Sustainability Agency and Sustainable Groundwater Management Act) is an extremely aggressive conception of government authority and its dominion over private property.

The letter reads, “Landowners whose property is within an unmanaged area and contains an operating ground water extraction well must report the volume of groundwater extracted from the well. The groundwater extraction volume must be reported as a monthly total. In addition to pumping volumes, reports must include the location of the well and the place and purpose of use of the groundwater. Groundwater extraction reports are not due to the state water board until February 1, 2023. However, if you are required to report, the report must include pumping volumes for each month between the date of receipt of this letter and September 30, 2022.”

This is not merely a bureaucratic hassle. There are fees, of course. The base filing fee is $300 per well, which all extractors are required to report. Then there’s an additional fee of $10 per acre foot with a meter, $25 per acre foot without. Tardy filers face a late fee of 25% per month.

California Globe reached out to Ms. Stork and SGMA to inquire how widely this letter was sent and where the State Water Resources Control Board derives the right to charge well owners for water on their own property. This story will be updated to include her comment if either responds.

Meanwhile, the ramifications for property rights are enormous.

See the rest here

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