The Ever Reaching Abusive Arm of the EPA

By T.C. Fontaine
Rightgrrl Contributor
August 10, 1999

I didn't always give much thought to the EPA and what it stands for. As a child I leaned to recycle and pick up litter. Even as an adult, I can't say that any of the decisions they had made, effected me directly. Of course, I had never built a home.

My future husband and I found the finest two acres around. It was on a dead end street, on a cul-de-sac, with tons of conservation land behind us, which would prevent other houses from being built. Little did we know that these two acres would be the greatest challenge of our lives.

In the Springfield Union News, (Monday May 17, 1999, Local Section) we read an article about several builders who were being taken to task by the conservation committee from our town, for the alleged cutting down of trees. The article did not concern us at the time. That was until we received a frantic call from our real estate agent stating that our lot was going to be under discussion at this meeting, and it would behoove us to be there.

We listened to case after case against these builders who had not been informed of any of the Orders and Conditions by the town, citing their abuses, the fines they would now have to pay, and the halting of any building on these properties until the conservation committee was satisfied.

In our particular case, the commission found it would be necessary to replant one hundred seventy two trees of their choosing on our property. They fined our builder $2,300 and put a bond against the property of $9,000. Furthermore, for the next three years, an annual monitoring report has to be filed with the town to insure the growth of these trees and we have to allow the conservation committee access to our property if they see fit. Lastly, we will be unable to fertilize or use pesticides on our lawn because of the effect it may have on the wetlands behind us.

If this is not an abuse of power, I don't know what is! Even though, we will own this property at the time of closing, we are unable to do what we wish with it. Last time I checked, this country was founded on property rights. I could slap Nixon for thinking the EPA was a good idea. There are no checks and balances for this commission. It does whatever it so chooses, and answers to no one. One of its members supposedly said "Oh, what a big beautiful tree they cut down!", when they were illegally walking the property without anyone's consent.

Towns must realize that it can't be both ways. You cannot possibly entice people from neighboring communities to your town, and then make it impossible for them to be there. A community is not a group of beautiful trees, inhabited by birds and other creatures that no one is allowed to appreciate. A community is people. It's the group of people that welcomes you to your new home with smiles and sometimes gifts. It is your neighbor next door that says hello to you every morning as you leave for work. It's the group of children that play at one another's houses after school and on the weekends. It's the guy who helps you get your car out of a snow bank or helps you rake your yard. Finally, a community is the friends you have made who help you in times of sorrow or illness.

Birds and other animals, don't realize the beauty of their environment - they live by instinct. Only humans have the ability to recognize the thrill of breathing the fresh air, as the wind slowly whistles through the trees, perhaps brushing their face, as they see chipmunks and rabbits scampering around. Why is it that the EPA and its subcommittees put so much work into preventing humans from being a part of it all?

This article copyright © 1999 T.C. Fontaine and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of its author. All rights reserved.