A new video produced by the American Farm Bureau Federation highlights the struggles a California farm family has encountered with federal water regulations. The video also illustrates how the climate regarding water regulations will likely become much worse and encompass the entire nation under the widely-reviled Waters of the U.S. rule.
As the enforcer of water regulations, the Army Corps of Engineers has told fourth-generation tree, vine and wheat grower John Duarte, a member of Farm Bureau in California, that he broke the law simply by plowing his land in rural Tehama County, California. Experts say that under the EPA’s WOTUS rule, the same type of regulatory enforcement could become commonplace, threatening farmers across the nation. EPA has said that farmers have no need to worry about the rule because normal farming is exempt from regulation, but what’s happening to the Duarte family shows how the EPA and the Corps work around that exemption.
“The Corps and EPA aren’t trying to micromanage farmers. They’re trying to stop farmers,” Duarte said. “They’re trying to turn our farm land into habitat preservation. They’re simply trying to chase us off of our land.”
Duarte decided to take his case to court, which was met by a counter-suit from the U.S. Justice Department, seeking millions of dollars in penalties, basically for plowing his field, according to Tony Francois, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, which is representing Duarte.
“Anyone who’s being told not to worry about the new WOTUS rule, they should be thinking about this case,” Francois said. “The very thing they are telling you not to worry about is what they are suing Duarte over – just plowing.”
The AFBF video about the Duarte case can be found at: http://bit.ly/1OIV48V.
Additional information about the Duarte case can be found at: https://www.pacificlegal.org/cases/duarte-nursery.