Clean Water Act

Food Chain Radio Show #1111

Listen to this Food Chain Radio Show hosted by Michael Olson

Michael Olson, Author & Urban Farming Agriculturalist

US Army Attacks US Farmer – Clean Water Act

This Poll is closed

Can farmers grow food under diligent government oversite?

 No  Yes

*

  100%      

Guest: Anthony Francois, Senior Attorney Pacific Legal Foundation

John Duarte purchased some farmland in Northern California with the intention of growing wheat.

Michael Olson Food Chain Radio - Duarte will stand trial in Federal Court this summer and face a $2.8 million dollar fine for failing to get permission to plow his land.

Michael Olson Food Chain Radio – Duarte will stand trial in Federal Court this summer and face a $2.8 million dollar fine for failing to get permission to plow his land.

Since the farmland contained swales and wetlands, Duarte hired a consulting firm to tell him where he could and could not plow, so as not to disturb the “waters of the United States.”

With the information in hand, Duarte proceeded to plow his farmland and plant his wheat. But before the wheat could be harvested, the Army Corps of Engineers issued a “cease and desist” order to Duarte for violating the Clean Water Act by not obtaining a permit to move soil.

Duarte sued the Army Corps for depriving him of his constitutional right of due process for issuing the cease and desist order without a public hearing.

Nevertheless, Duarte will stand trial in Federal Court this summer and face a $2.8 million dollar fine for failing to get permission to plow his land.

And so we ask…

Leave a comment below: Can farmers grow food under such diligent government oversight?

Tune in here, for the syndicated the Michael Olson Food Chain Radio Show #1111  July 15, 2017 Saturday 9AM Pacific

Nationally syndicated Food Chain Radio airs live Saturday mornings 9-10AM Pacific

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2 Comments

  1. Patrick Bosold says:

    Hi, Michael,
    Your question is slanted in a way that implies ‘poor oppressed farmer vs. big bad US Army (Corps of Engineers). I’m no friend of the Corps, having lobbied them long and hard against the Dakota Access pipeline here in Iowa. However, in this case, if Farmer John is getting hammered like this for plowing up swales and wetlands, he could have avoided the situation by checking his consultants’ work with the Corps. If he does have to go to court and eat a fine, he should turn around and sue the consultants for screwing up. The Clean Water Act is getting bashed hard enough already by a business-friendly Republican congress and executive branch, and by the regulatory agencies that are supposed to be upholding it. It was passed decades ago for good reasons. It is not impossible to farm, ranch, etc. while also protecting water quality. The devil is always in the details in a case like this, of course. If the Corps really did overstep their authority, hopefully that will come out in the course of the court proceedings and Farmer John will be off the hook. Otherwise, let’s see if that process delivers the full set of facts before we buy into what could turn out to be false narratives about government agencies misbehaving when they are, in fact, legitimately doing their jobs to protect our shared environment.

  2. Randy Cook says:

    U.S. Supreme Court
    U.S. v. BUTLER, 297 U.S. 1 (1936)

    Argued Dec. 9, 10, 1935.
    Decided Jan. 6, 1936.

    [Deciding the constitutionality of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933]

    Mr. Justice [Owen Josephus] ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court.

    “From the accepted doctrine that the United States is a government of delegated powers, it follows that those not expressly granted, or reasonably to be implied from such as are conferred, are reserved to the states or to the people. To forestall any suggestion to the contrary, the Tenth Amendment was adopted. The same proposition, otherwise stated, is that powers not granted are prohibited. None to regulate agricultural production is given, and therefore legislation by Congress for that purpose is forbidden.” [297 U.S. 1 at 68, footnote omitted.]

    *****
    Congress, not having been granted power to legislate on the subject of agricultural production, cannot enable the Executive to make rules effecting regulation of that which is forbidden to the Legislative power. It may be argued that The Army Corps of Engineers, a federal agent, therefore is likewise powerless to regulate agricultural production, even to the matter of “Farmer John Duarte…plowing his field.”

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