'It Cost Us 5 Million Bucks': CA Farmer Slams Obama-Era Overreach That Led to Huge Fine
Trump admin to roll back Obama EPA rules.
A California farmer who was hit with a million-dollar fine for plowing a wheat field on his own land is supporting the Trump administration's plan to roll back Obama-era rules designed to protect wetlands and other small bodies of water.
John Duarte ran afoul of environmental regulations in 2012, and in 2016, a judge ruled that he had violated the “Waters of the United States” provision of the Clean Water Act by “deep ripping” a Tehama County field without a permit.
The Sacramento Bee reported:
In 2012 Duarte, owner of a nursery in the Modesto area, bought a 450-acre farm in Tehama County and began plowing the field with a Case IH tractor in order to plant wheat. Before long he was hit with a cease-and-desist order from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which said he had “deep ripped” the land and deposited the dredged soil illegally onto the farm’s wetlands.
Duarte sued the government. The government sued him back and won a ruling from a federal judge in Sacramento saying Duarte had broken the law. The government proposed to fine him $2.8 million.
Duarte eventually agreed to pay $1.1 in a settlement, and many have held his case up as an example of government overreach.
On "Fox & Friends" Thursday, Duarte said he wanted to congratulate Trump for rolling back some government agencies' claims of jurisdiction over private property.
The move means Clean Water Act regulations will no longer apply to thousands of smaller bodies of water in the United States.
"The Clean Water Act is a good law. It was well-compromised and well-construed back in the 70s to protect navigable waters of the United States from polluters. And it's done a good job of that. Our waters are much cleaner," Duarte said.
He said the problem, however, is that government agencies engage in regulatory overreach.
Duarte said he was sued by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Justice, estimating that the ensuing legal fees and fines added up to "an easy five million bucks."
Watch the "Fox & Friends" interview above.