January 15, 2016

Pacific Legal Foundation client John Duarte's case featured in LA Times

By Anthony L. Francois Senior Attorney

Earlier this week, no less than the Speaker of the House highlighted two of Pacific Legal Foundation’s Clean Water Act cases as examples of overzealous enforcement by federal bureaucrats: Andy Johnson‘s fight against the EPA over his stock pond, and Duarte Nursery‘s battle with the Army Corps of Engineers over plowing his farm. Today the LA Times featured John Duarte’s due process and Clean Water Act enforcement case against the Army Corps of Engineers, rightly describing the government’s action as making legal mountains out of less than molehills. It is a great read, available here.

Money quote:

Finally, and perhaps most deliciously, the Corps maintains that the raised parts of the plowed furrows, which are maybe 3 to 4 inches tall, created “small mountain ranges,” which discharged pollutants (i.e., tilled dirt) into the wetlands.

On Wednesday, under drizzly skies, Duarte stood on one of those teensy mountain ranges and smiled. “We call these ‘Sierra de minimis.'”

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Duarte Nursery v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

John Duarte and Duarte Nursery, in rural Tehama County, California, received a cease and desist order from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for engaging in normal farming activities (i.e., plowing) that purportedly affected wetlands. Duarte was not permitted any type of hearing to defend himself.

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