Frank LaDue lost the right to use 29 of his 30 acres of land -- or 96.7% of it -- when the Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) designated most of it a wetland.
LaDue's troubles began when he filled four acres of his land with waste wood to build a garden and wooded area. The DOE charged that the wood dried up a wetland, seriously damaging the ecosystem. In response, LaDue removed the waste wood, pulling it towards his house. But because he failed to recover wood that had already decomposed into the soil, the DOE argued that he had not returned the wetlands to their original state and fined him $5,000.
But that wasn't the end of LaDue's ordeal. A specialist from another department of DOE determined that removing the waste wood could do more harm than good. So they instructed LaDue to make hammocks (elevated tracts of land) of the fill and place it all on one acre.
LaDue was allowed to use that one acre for his garden, his house, and other uses. The remainder has been designated a wetland.
Source: Citizens for Property Rights
Posthaste Facts on the Environment #24, published October 28, 1997 by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002, 202/543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, E-Mail [email protected]