Rainwater Crimes: Man Gets Jail & Fines For Collecting On His Own Land

Water, water, everywhere – Nor any drop to drink.*

A case of the government seeking money and bondage from rural residents by purposely misconstruing an old law & bending definitions.

Activist Post

Gary Harrington had no idea that he was a water criminal under an obscure 1925 law until 2002 when state bureaucrats told him that his three reservoirs were illegal collection devices that were a crime against his community.

At first, Harrington complied and legally filed for three permits to keep the rainwater run-off within his 170-acre property, including one that had been on the property for 37 years. However, it appears that the Oregon government is adamantly against its citizens storing and using their own source of water. Although his permits were approved in 2003, the state court arbitrarily reversed their decision and was subsequently backed up by a county Circuit Court judge who ruled that he had illegally “withdrawn the water at issue from appropriation other than for the City of Medford.” (Source)

Even if the city of Medford did legitimately own all the water, Harrington has good standing when he points out that the law mentions only streams and tributaries, not water run-off formulated from the clouds.

Clearly, the Oregon government is sending the message that if a resident wants water, it had better be with their approval and by their means. But Oregon isn’t the only place instituting rainwater tyranny.

Western states such as Utah, Colorado, and Washington have long outlawed the practice, basically invoking the collectivist notion that the rainwater is ultimately communal, and to store it (hoard it) is a crime (Source). 

Other countries have had uprisings over this issue. In 1999 mega corporation, Bechtel, the largest construction contractor in the United States and winner of rebuilding contracts after the leveling provided by Katrina and the invasion of Iraq, privatized the public water system in Cochabamba – Bolivia’s third largest city. As reported at the time:

This is a country where indigenous farming communities previously had their own water rights, but their water sources were converted into property to be bought and sold by international corporations. When the company refused to lower rates, the people began to rise up and revolt against this injustice; they confronted Bechtel during five months of mobilization and managed to defeat them, breach the contract and change the law. 

A 17-year-old boy named Victor Hugo Daza was killed in the protests along with four indigenous people from El Alto, while hundreds were injured. It was this popular uprising in Cochabamba that led to the election of their new president Evo Morales, the first ever indigenous head of state in Bolivia. 

So Bechtel was thrown out of Bolivia, but months later they moved to do the exact same thing in Ecuador‘s largest city of Guayaquil. And in November 2001, they filed a lawsuit against Bolivia demanding $50 million, an amount which is just short of what the corporation makes in a day. The case will be decided behind closed doors in a secret trade court at the World Bank headquarters in Washington; it will tell whether the people of South America’s poorest country will have to pay $50 million to one of the world’s most wealthy corporations. 

Update: In 2006, Bechtel dropped their case against Bolivia. (Source)

In the case of Ecuador, thousands showed up to protest the corporate takeover of their innate right to use the water that falls upon their land. In some ways, what is happening in Oregon and other Western states is even worse than the privatization led by corporations like Bechtel.

Not only are resources and populations being exploited for financial gain, but as Mike Adams correctly points out for NaturalNews: sunlight and air also fall on your land, so where will this end if people don’t stand up in defense of their most basic rights?

It is the very spirit of American ownership of private property and the right to self-determination that are being threatened. The ideology of collectivism is seeking in myriad ways to upend the foundation of America and criminalize independence. Hat’s off to Harrington who embodies the spirit of true freedom and vows never to end the fight if his rights continue to get trampled.

“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.” There are several lines in the sand that should not be crossed within any country claiming to be rooted in freedom.

Revolt has happened in other nations subjected to the same level of tyranny who recognized that even without an American Constitution, this is a human rights issue that in fact has no boundaries. The words of water criminal Gary Harrington ring clear that we’d do well to stand our ground on fundamental issues, unless we wish to give away our spirit along with our land:

They’ve just gotten to be big bullies and if you just lay over and die and give up, that just makes them bigger bullies. So, we as Americans, we need to stand on our constitutional rights, on our rights as citizens and hang tough. This is a good country, we’ll prevail.

*Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Mariners are surrounded by a sea of water they cannot drink.

Main source for this article: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/oregon-man-sentenced-30-days-jail-collecting-rainwater-his-property

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