California Farmer Fined $2.8M for Plowing His Own Field


The California farmer who became the poster kid for EPA reform under President Donald Trump is being fined $2.8 million by state and federal regulators for raking his own field in Tehama County.

“The case is the very first time that we’re mindful of that says you require to get a (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) permit to rake to grow crops,” said Anthony Francois, an attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation.

“We’re not going to produce much food under those kinds of policies,” he said.However, U.S.

District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller concurred with the Army Corps in a judgment issued in June 2016. A penalty trial, in which the U.S. Attorney’s Workplace asks for $2.8 million in civil penalties, is set for August.It all started in 2012 when a Modesto farmer called John Duarte, owner of Duarte Nursery, bought 450 acres near Red Bluff in Tehama County.Because the acreage had numerous”swales and wetlands,”Duarte decided to hire a consulting firm to draw up areas on the property to mark off locations that drained into the nearby Coyote and Oak creeks– which, under an Obama-era regulation, are considered to be”waters of the United States, “(” WOTUS “). Inning accordance with the Record report, Francois and court records verified that Duarte prepared to grow wheat on the 450 acres.The wheat Duarte planted was never collected,” since in February 2013 the Army Corps of Engineers and the California Central Valley Regional Water Quality assurance Board released orders to quit working at the site since Duarte had actually breached the Tidy Water Act by not obtaining a license to discharge dug up or fill product into seasonal wetlands considered waters of the United States. “Duarte responded by taking legal action against the Army Corps and the state of California. The United States Lawyer’s office filed a counter-suit. The federal government’s case appears to rest completely on a technicality created under the new guideline that approves EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers sweeping powers in exactly what President Trump, at the finalizing of an executive order directing EPA to begin reversing WOTUS, described as “a huge power grab” approving the federal government control of”nearly every puddle or every ditch on a farmer’s land. “The Los Angeles Times explains the entire case as a “drawn-out< a href=""> legal fight occurred over whether 5-inch furrows totaled up to enough of a modification of the land to “pollute”the pools.”The wetlands in my case quantity to really small depressions– they’re vernal swimming pools– far and detached from any stream or accessible waters, “Duarte informed the Times.” Often they’re simply dark areas in the lawn to the layperson.” In a paradoxical twist, the Times noted that” [d] uring the Senate hearing on Pruitt’s nomination, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst utilized a picture of Duarte’s furrows as a backdrop, mocking a federal quick that stated’the furrow tops now work as small mountain varieties.'” Regardless of Trump’s new policy, federal regulators are still requiring nearly$3 million from an American farmer for raking his own independently obtained farmland– land that he fairly assumed to be exempt from the policy now being imposed.


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