Oregon criminalizes permaculture; claims state ownership over all rainwater – ponds and swales restricted – jail time for violators
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
(NaturalNews) There’s nothing more refreshing than standing in a cool, summertime rain shower. Or bathing in the warm sunlight on a crisp spring day. Or inhaling the cool autumn air, fresh with the scent of turning leaves and pine needles. These things — rainwater, sunlight, air — have long been assumed to be not only free, but un-claimable. You can’t claim to own the sunlight that falls on my front yard, for example. A corporation can’t claim intellectual property ownership over the air that you breathe and demand you pay a royalty for inhaling.
But these days, Jackson County, Oregon says it owns YOUR rainwater, and the county has sentenced a man to 30 days in jail and fined him over $1500, for the supposed “crime” of collecting rainwater on his own property.
The man’s name is Gary Harrington, and he owns over 170 acres of land in Jackson County. On that land, he has three ponds, and those ponds collect rainwater that falls on his land. Common sense would say Gary has every right to have ponds with water on his 170 acres of land, but common sense has been all but abandoned in the state of Oregon.
Much like California, Oregon is increasingly becoming a collectivist state. You didn’t build that! The government built that! You don’t own that! The government owns that! That rainwater that just fell on your land? That’s the government’s rainwater, and you’re going to jail if you try to steal from the government!
That’s the explanation from Jackson County officials, who initially granted Harrington “permits” to build ponds back in 2003. Yes, in Oregon you actually need to beg for permission from the government just to have a pond on your own land. But the state of Oregon revoked his permits a few years later, after he had already created the ponds, thus putting Harrington in the position of being a “water criminal” who was “stealing” rainwater from the state.
Tom Paul, administrator of the Oregon Water Resources Department, is an obedient water Nazi. He insists, “Oregon law that says all of the water in the state of Oregon is public water and if you want to use that water, either to divert it or to store it, you have to acquire a water right from the state of Oregon before doing that activity.”
What he means, of course, is not that the water is “public” water, but that it’s government water. The government owns it, and if you “steal” from the government by, for example, damming up rainwater runoff from your own land, you will go to jail.
Thus, even when rainwater falls on your own property, you don’t own it! The government owns it. You didn’t build that! The government built that. That’s not YOUR land, you only lease it from the King, and by the way, your property tax is due again…
Paul continues, “If you build a dam, an earthen dam, and interrupt the flow of water off of [YOUR OWN] property, and store that water that is an activity that would require a water right permit from us.” (http://www.nwpr.org/post/southern-oregon-man-sentenced-jail-time-ille…)
You don’t own the rain that falls on your own yard, Oregon insists
The state of Oregon openly admits, on its website, that you don’t own the rain water that falls on your land! As stated on Oregon.gov:
Under Oregon law, all water is publicly owned. With some exceptions, cities, farmers, factory owners, and other water users must obtain a permit or water right from the Water Resources Department to use water from ANY source… (http://cms.oregon.gov/owrd/pages/pubs/aquabook_laws.aspx)
That page describes an exception to allow rainwater collection from rooftops, but not from a yard or natural landscape: “Exempt uses of surface water include …collection and use of rainwater from an artificial impervious surface (like a parking lot or a building’s roof)…”
So, in other words, if Harrington had paved his fields with asphalt, then collected the rainwater would have been legal in Oregon! But because his fields were natural grasses, shrubs and trees, the rainwater collection was deemed illegal.
Harrington said that he will never stop fighting the government on this issue. As reported in CNS News: “When something is wrong, you just, as an American citizen, you have to put your foot down and say, This is wrong; you just can’t take away anymore of my rights and from here on in, I’m going to fight it.” (http://cnsnews.com/news/article/oregon-man-sentenced-30-days-jail-col…)
If states claim they own the rain, they may soon claim to own the sunlight, too
Rainwater, it turns out, isn’t the only thing that falls on your land. Sunlight also falls on your land. Air resides above it, and minerals below it.
If the state of Oregon already claims to own all the water that falls on your land, what’s to stop them from claiming ownership over all the sunlight, too? Imagine a day when the state erects solar panels on your land, but the electricity isn’t yours to keep. You still have to pay for it, because the sunlight belongs to the state, get it?
If you erect your own solar panels on your own land, the state could then arrest you and charge you with “stealing” state property. All those photons, you see, belong to the state. Once the state declares sunlight to be “community property,” you instantly become a criminal for having solar panels on your house.
State of Oregon declares war on permaculture and sustainable living
Collecting rainwater — and sunlight — are practices taught in sustainable living, permaculture and throughout the green movement. Rainwater capture using ponds and swales is one of the most important strategies for restoring a local landscape. See a good video overview of this here:
These rainwater capture practices help trees grow more quickly and accelerate the return of animal life to any region. They can even be used to restore a desert to a lush, food-producing forest. Watch these remarkable videos with Geoff Lawton:
See more permaculture videos on the permaculture channel at TV.naturalnews.com:
Capturing rainwater also reduces the burden on groundwater supplies and municipal water systems. Capturing rainwater actually protect aquifers and raises the value of land, which results in higher property tax revenues for the county.
That Jackson County officials actually criminalize permaculture practices is abhorrent to not only the green movement on the left, but also the Libertarians and Constitutionalists on the right. Much like in California, Oregon County officials are lying, power-hungry tyrants who falsely accuse Harrington of “diverting” stream water when, in reality, he was only capturing water that normally flows off his own property and later joins the stream.
“Water law is water law, whether you agree with it or not,” said Jackson County Water Master Larry Menteer. (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/07/16/man-disputes-oregon-convictions-…)
In other words, the power of the state is absolute, even if the state departs from the realm of sanity. Importantly, if the state of Oregon can claim ownership over rainwater, what’s to stop the state from claiming ownership over the AIR, too?
To clarify: Oregon state bureaucrats are claiming they own the RUNOFF water from rainwater that falls on your own land! Some of the communist-minded critics who are defending state officials in this case are lying and trying to claim this man “dammed a stream,” implying it was a stream that ran through his property. That’s a lie. All this man did was dam up his own runoff which later dumps into a stream. Thus, he only captures his own rainwater. He takes no water from anywhere else. And when his own ponds are filled, that rainwater overflows directly into the stream where it used to flow before he built his dams.
This practice of capturing rainwater has been used throughout the history of civilization to restore landscapes, preserve soils, grow food and live more sustainably. Do not fall for the disinformation campaigns being waged on this issue by the Oregon communists and socialists who believe no individual has any right to anything.
People who live in cities tend to be collectivists, and collectivists almost universally do not understand the real world, the natural world, the countryside where food is produced. In the country, rainwater capture is a conservation technique. In states like Texas, it is openly encouraged by county and state officials. Counties actually give ranchers tax credits to build large dams that capture rainwater runoff from their own properties.
In Texas, the ponds created from this practice are called “tanks,” and these tanks are crucial watering holes for livestock and wildlife alike. When the horrendous fires of 2011 swept through many areas of central Texas, it was these man-made ponds and “tanks” that served as refuge areas for dozens of bird species which fled the fires. So the very same water conservation technique that is encouraged in Texas is criminalized in Oregon, where the mindset there is so deeply infected with the delusions of socialism and even communism that the individual’s ownership of his own rainwater isn’t even recognized!
What if Oregon claims ownership over the air you breathe?
If the state of Oregon can claim it owns the water that falls on your land, then it can also just as easily claim ownership over the sunlight that falls on your land. But it doesn’t stop there: What about the air you breathe?
There is absolutely nothing stopping Oregon — or any other state — from proclaiming air is “state property.” If you breathe it, you owe the state money.
The fees will be small at first — perhaps $10 / month — but over time they will be raised to exorbitant levels. It’s a state-run shakedown, after all, and once the People become apathetic enough to allow the state to expand its power beyond all reason, there is no limit to the state’s desire for total control over everything under the sun… even including the sun and the air!
This is not a difficult matter for the state to achieve. Oregon could simply pass a new law declaring all air that exists within state boundaries to be state property. Those who “divert” air by engaging in activities such as inflating balloons or compressing air and storing it in air tanks would be given stiff jail sentences.
Think this couldn’t happen? Think it’s too stupid? It’s no more stupid than what has already happened — the criminalization of capturing rainwater, a common permaculture practice for sustainable living.
California criminalizes fresh milk; Michigan criminalizes small local ranching; Oregon criminalizes permaculture
Do you see a pattern in all this? As NaturalNews has reported in just the last 18 months:
• California has declared war on small, local fresh milk farmers and distributors (http://www.naturalnews.com/036614_James_Stewart_Ventura_county_raw_mi…).
• Michigan has criminalized small, local ranchers and animal operations (http://www.naturalnews.com/035585_Michigan_farms_raids.html).
• A city in Michigan has also tried to criminalize home gardens (http://www.naturalnews.com/032960_Julie_Bass_home_gardening.html).
• The city of Tulsa, Oklahoma sent out a “destruction crew” to chop down a woman’s edible landscaping garden of over 100 varieties of foods and medicinal herbs (http://www.naturalnews.com/036234_edible_landscaping_medicinal_plants…).
• Oregon has criminalized one of the most important practices of permaculture, capturing rainwater to restore life to a local landscape.
What’s the pattern here? Total state domination over all resources — land, water, food, medicine and more. This is part of the ongoing effort to crush self reliance in America and turn everybody into a mindless, hopeless slave of the state, living on USDA food stamps and eating corporate-engineered GMO.
Freedom means being able to speak your mind, capture your rainwater, bask in the sun, grow trees, raise backyard chickens, home school your children, say NO to vaccines, defend your life and property against looters and violent crime. Freedom is what once made America great, and it is the crushing of freedom which is now destroying America.
Collectivism is the enemy of freedom
In Oregon, California, Michigan, Washington D.C. and everywhere around the world where evil bureaucrats seek total power over all of humanity, our natural, divine rights are being viciously stripped away. Our money supply is being eroded at an accelerating rate. Our right to due process has been nullified by our own President (http://www.naturalnews.com/034537_NDAA_Bill_of_Rights_Obama.html). Our right to free speech is being increasingly censored and stifled. Our right to grow our own home gardens is under constant assault. (http://www.naturalnews.com/036234_edible_landscaping_medicinal_plants…)
The common cause behind all these attacks on freedom is “collectivism” — the idea that individuals have no value and that only the state can provide life, food and an economy. This is accomplished through endless permit requirements that now make running something like an organic farm a paperwork nightmare. It is encapsulated in the recently-publicized idea that “You didn’t build that! The government built that!” which ridiculously imagines that only government creates prosperity, not individual innovators and people who believe in hard work.
Similarly, the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act late last year (http://www.naturalnews.com/030986_food_safety_farmers.html) will absolutely devastate small, local farms once it fully kicks in (see video below).
We are all becoming indentured servants
With every new regulation, inspection, permit and government burden placed upon farms and land owners, we are increasingly destroying our own futures by placing more power in the hands of tyrannical government. We are all becoming indentured servants to the state. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indentured_servant)
Think you OWN your land? Try not paying property tax for a year. You’ll find out very quickly that you don’t own anything. The state owns it. You are just paying rent.