In Eagle Point, Oregon, Gary Harrington was sentenced, on Wednesday, to 30 days in jail and over $1,500 in fines because he had three reservoirs on his property to collect and use rainwater.
Harrington plans to appeal his conviction on nine misdemeanor charges, which were made based on a 1925 law for having what state water managers called “three illegal reservoirs” on his property, and for filling the reservoirs with rainwater and snow runoff.
Harrington told CNSNews.com (audio below): “The government is bullying. 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."
According to Oregon water laws, all water is publicly owned. Therefore, anyone who wants to store any type of water on their property must first obtain a permit from state water managers.
Though the state Water Resources Department initially approved Harrington's permits in 2003, the state, and a state court, ultimately reversed the decision.
Harrington said: “They issued me my permits. I had my permits in hand and they retracted them just arbitrarily, basically. They took them back and said ‘No, you can’t have them,’ so I’ve been fighting it ever since."