EPA Tentacles and Big Brother

Environmental Protection Agency Seal

Environmental Protection Agency Seal (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

FAIL

Have you ever wondered how the EPA is affecting your life? I’m not talking about how they purify the air or the drinking water supply (which they don’t do, your local community does that). I’m talking about how they get into your personal life in your own personal space.

At the beginning of April I received a nicely written letter from the Environmental Specialist of the Village of Frankfort. I’ve added A copy of the letter  below. The ES explains how I am breaking the law by dumping grass clippings behind my house. WTF, I was livid. That is why it has taken me so long to write about this matter. Had I written on the day I received the letter, I’d be in jail today.

Letter from Frankfort EPA police

I looked for the cited Village ordnance, and found the paragraph. It clearly states the prohibition of dumping yard waste. I am guilty, I dump grass clippings into a mulch pile at the back of my lot which backs up to an EPA defined wetland.

One would think based on the seriousness of this letter that I am dumping in a backyard neighbor’s property. I am not, in fact I am dumping horticultural organic matter into an area not inhabited by man. Most of us who went to high school understand that organic matter decays and returns to nature in the form of rich compost. It is beneficial to soil enrichment, and gardeners are encouraged to add compost to flower beds to the rebuild the soil.  At least that is what I learned in Master Gardener School. Evidently, the EPA and the Village of Frankfort do not understand that principle.

Many questions began to whirl through this aged brain like, how in the heck did they find my feeble grass pile? Who found it? Why did they even look for it? It must be my tax dollars at work. I asked myself how in the world can a small village like Frankfort afford to have an Environmental Specialist on its payroll? They have too much money is the answer. We are supposed to be a conservative town with conservative leaders. I’m beginning to understand the meaning of CINO (Conservative in Name Only). I know the Mayor, I think he is a great guy, he has done a good job of leading the town. He understands the need for commercial development, and the need to preserve our 1850’s charm, but I think he’s been mayor too long. He is beginning to believe the town belongs to him.

I reviewed my neighborhood on Google maps. These wonderful maps give us another perspective on what is going on around us. I want to show the size and scope of this wetland as compared to my grass pile. I learned some new things after looking closely. At first, the picture looked like the one I looked at when I bought this property seven years ago. Then, I began to notice details. My pond didn’t get built until five years ago, my tiny vegetable plot didn’t get added until three years ago, my neighbors new fire pit didn’t get installed until two years ago, and the trampoline the kids next door jump on didn’t arrive until last year. Hello, this is a brand new photo from space. What is that all about? Who pays for these photos, Google? Is it Google’s satellite circling the earth with a camera to make their maps more detailed? I don’t think so.

Regardless, you can see that I back up to a huge wetland and my grass pile pales in comparison. Don’t you see it?  It is the pixel to the left and above the red pointer

I zoomed my property to find the grass pile, and its deadly effect on the wetland. What I found was a new photo from space with all the new details I mentioned above. After examining this blow up closely, the lot line is easy to extrapolate from the neighbors on either side of me. The many trees and shrubs obscure my lot line. The grass pile is just inside the tree line, and I’m sure it does not encroach the wetland by more than six feet. More questions come to mind. How in the heck did they find my grass pile? They must be looking at better photos than I find on Google. Is this what the Environmental Specialist does? Look for grass piles?

Close up of my lot from Space

This explains why I saw two big guys having a conversation at the back of my lot a few months ago. They stood on my property thinking of reasons to send me a letter. After all, the grass pile creates a “hazard for village employees.”  They disappeared before I had a chance to challenge them. The simple fact is that this wetland is a Mid-western jungle of fallen Cottonwood trees, and an invasive species called Buckthorn, as well as Mulberry, wild grape, buck thistle, doc, poison ivy, and many things that I am not able to name.

My seven-year war has been on terrorist plants like the buck thistle that came directly from this wetland space. The thistle began invading years before my grass pile came into existence.

The Village recommends I buy yard waste bags (a major pain in the ass to use, and are expensive), or to hire a landscape service to mow and haul the clippings away to another wetland someplace (I did have a service until the economy crashed in 2008, and I felt I could not afford it any more), or I should have the trash collection company provide a yard waste container to haul the waste to some discrete wetland away from Frankfort.

It is my conclusion that someone in the Village government has a friend in the waste management business.

I hate to think of my grass pile causing the Charrington Dam to erode, or the invasion of noxious weeds to overtake the wetland, or to upset the balance of nature in such a way as to keep the hundreds of Canada Geese from nesting there. The Canada Geese, by the way, are overpopulating the entire southwestern suburbs and polluting many forest preserve and wetland areas. They also happen to come to my yard to crap all over the patio and to steal bird feed, along with all the opossum, raccoon, red fox, deer, snakes, and other critters that call the wetland home. Answer this, would all these creatures invade my yard if the dreaded grass pile was gone?

In the meantime, I switched to using the mulcher on the mower.

And that is how the EPA and Big Brother get into your shorts.

Has the EPA Met the End Of Its Usefulness?


It figures, Obama caves on the Keystone pipeline and it is a joke. It is not April Fool’s Day yet “O.”

Today, I drove west on US Route 30 through a construction zone. This road is the original cross-country highway across America stretching from New York to San Francisco, but now it is a local road replaced by Interstate eighty. It doesn’t really matter which direction I drive, the road is under construction. It is a nightmare slalom course through colorful orange barrels. All along the route there are signs, paid for by you, and me declaring “WETLAND NO INTRUSION.” Often they attach them to a temporary fence stretched across a property in question. Route 30 crosses several creeks, forest preserves, and genuine wetlands. Each area is defined by a fence that is patrolled by the EPA for intrusion . What in the world does it mean, and what protection does it afford to you and me? With a little research I determined that the EPA intention is to decrease the impact of a project on a wetland.

So, here I sit in the Department of Transportation Office designing a major road improvement that widens a road from two lanes to four. My road crosses several creeks which means I have to build more bridge lanes to cross. Now how in the world do I do that without encroaching on the wetland? The EPA wants me to minimize encroachment. As an engineer, it is my job to get the project done to specification on time, and within the estimated cost. Why would I destroy more stream than is necessary to build my bridge? Isn’t that I am building a bridge evidence it is not my intention to destroy the creek? Why do you make me add cost to survey the line of allowed encroachment, build a fence and hang a sign to remind me where the line is?

A sensible engineer would lay a couple of pipes across the  span and fill in over it to create a roadbed.  In doing this he gambles that pipes he laid will accommodate the largest rush of  water nature supplies. If he loses the road floods and or washes out. In order to prevent that he builds a bridge which minimizes restriction to water flow. He doesn’t need a stupid reminder from the EPA about his responsibility. His job is to keep traffic moving safely and quickly.

How many road projects are there in America, and how many creeks and wetlands with fences and signs?  The cost is horrendous. So what?  Well, I just paid my 2011 income tax and I’m pissed about my contribution to the cause.  I am not in the one percent being picked on by Occupy Wall Street, and Obama, and by now I am probably no longer in the middle class since I haven’t earned a penny in ten years. Every dollar I pay in tax hurts, and every dollar I pull from my 401K advances me a bit closer toward  SSI and Medicaid. All you youngsters out there better be praying that I die off  before that happens or the burden of providing for my welfare will fall upon you. That is why I say get rid of the EPA, and a number of other burdensome agencies that have no useful purpose in society other than to harass the citizenry, and stop real progress from happening..

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