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The Jay Montfort Story

Since 1990, Jay Montfort of Fishkill, New York has been trying to expand a gravel mine on his own land. But the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has been finding one excuse after another not to give Montfort the permission he needs to expand. Montfort believes "the motivation for such abusive tactics appears to be the desire of the state" and a local conservation group, Scenic Hudson, to acquire his property for a land trust.

For four years, the rationale was that Montfort's mine would threaten a den of rattlesnakes that dwell near the property. Rattlesnakes are protected under New York's endangered species law. DEC officials claim that a four-foot, wire-mesh fence Montfort built around his property to protect his employees was illegal because it reduced the snake's habitat by about 20% and would inflict "physiological stress" on the snakes. In early 1999, a New York state judge ruled that Montfort's fence did pose a threat to the snakes. Montfort will do as he has been doing for nine years now and appeal yet another unfavorable decision.
Source: Property Rights Foundation