2 years ago

PLF and client John Duarte featured in American Farm Bureau video on Clean Water Act enforcement abuses

By Anthony L. Francois Senior Attorney

Today the American Farm Bureau released this video highlighting Pacific Legal Foundation’s fight on behalf of California family farming company Duarte Nursery, Inc., to vindicate farmers’ due process rights in environmental enforcement.

In addition to its due process lawsuit against the Corps of Engineers, Duarte Nursery is also a plaintiff in PLF’s lawsuit challenging the validity of the sweeping new EPA/Corps of Engineers land grab known as the “waters of the United States” or WOTUS rule. This rule federalizes land use over most of the nation, by defining privately owned dry land as the federal government’s water, which then requires the owner to get federal permission to do much of anything with it.

EPA has been engaged in a full court propaganda press to mislead citizens about the scope of the WOTUS rule, including an illegal covert social media campaign dressed up to look like spontaneous grass-roots support for the rule. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has been brow-beating farmers, in particular, to stand down from the opposition because the Act exempts normal farming practices from permitting.

But the Duarte Nursery case exposes these assurances as worthless. Nothing is a more normal farming practice that plowing, but that is what the Corps of Engineers is suing the company (and its president personally) for doing. This, after the Army Corps tried the illegal strong arm tactic of ordering the farm shut down without a hearing. With this kind of enforcement, all farmers and ranchers should be skeptical of EPA’s soothing words.

Interested viewers can see the Farm Bureau video here, and can learn more about the details of the Duarte Nursery case in PLF’s video:

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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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