(Tea Party 247) – The United States federal government has turned into a mob of money-grabbing bureaucrats with zero regard for the real people who live in the United States. The many, many liberal policies, codes, and laws that have been placed on ordinary citizens is absolutely egregious and can be back-breaking for many business owners, including farmers.
The fact that we have to report to the government on activities we do on our own property is just blatant government overreach. I doubt very much that this was what the founders had in mind when they framed our government structure.
Nonetheless, one California farmer has found himself in the middle of a most ridiculous legal action against him.
DC Clothesline reports:
No one told Jack LaPant that he could be in violation of the Clean Water Act for farming his own land.
That’s mostly because the federal law includes a clear exemption for “normal” farming activities. But it’s also because the government officials LaPant consulted didn’t view overturned dirt that has been tilled and plowed as pollution.
In 2016, the Army Corps of Engineers, which administers the Clean Water Act with the Environmental Protection Agency, began legal action against LaPant for plowing he did in 2011 to plant wheat on a ranch property he owned in Northern California.
But in March 2012, LaPant had sold the property, located in Tehama County about 4 miles south of the city of Red Bluff.
Before plowing his field to plant wheat, LaPant conferred in person with the Farm Service Agency in California, which is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In a phone interview with the Daily Signal, LaPant said, “All of these government officials I spoke with, and they have all been deposed, they never once suggested that I should go meet with the Army Corps of Engineers.”
“I asked them if it was OK to take this piece of land and grow wheat and they all said it was OK,” he recounted, “Even today, you can go into these offices and they will not tell a farmer that he needs to go and see the Army Corps to farm on his own land. It makes no sense and the Department of Agriculture doesn’t understand any of it, and we are talking about the same federal government.”
This truly reflects one of the biggest problems with the massive federal government. There are way too many departments and none of these departments has a clue about the others. In many situations these governing bodies even contradict each other. When this happens, it isn’t the government who is expected to adjust, it’s the citizens who are expected to adapt and somehow conform to the multiple departments and their outrageous demands.
Oftentimes this costs business owners a lot of money. Money that could be used to grow their business or cover the actual costs of operating their business. The federal government doesn’t care. They only want their piece of the pie. I digress.
LaPant explained that he visited “’four different government folks’ with expertise in soil conservation when he was researching the history of the farm,” according to DC Clothesline.
“They all gave me the same answer,” LaPant said. “They told me, ‘Jack, if you’d like to go ahead and plant it the same way it’s been planted in the past, go ahead. But if you want to go in and plant a permanent crop, then maybe we’ll go back and study it.’ So, I went ahead and planted 900 acres of wheat.”
The legal debacle for LaPant actually started after he sold the property to Duarte Nursery, a family-owned nursery operation based in Tehama County, California. The Duarte Nursery also encountered issues the Army Corps of Engineers.
DC Clothesline reports, “Duarte Nursery entered into a settlement agreement with the federal government after suing the Army Corps of Engineers for denying due process. Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit, public interest law firm based in Sacramento, California, and Washington, D.C., represented the nursery in the case and now represents LaPant.”
It is believed that what ultimately led to the legal actions was the planting of an orchard by yet another company who purchased some of this land in 2012 from the Duarte Nursery. So, now we have a company, Goose Pond Ag, who is planting an orchard which requires different preparation for the land than wheat, and they bought the property from Duarte not LaPant, and the government was still able to drag LaPant into it.
“It’s the orchard planting and the preparations for the orchard planting, which involves fairly substantial earthwork, that really got the Army’s attention and got this whole enforcement action going,” Tony Francois, a lawyer with the Pacific Legal Foundation who represents LaPant, said. “What’s odd about it is that they roped LaPant into it, and we think the Army may have initially thought LaPant was part of this plan to plant the orchard.”
This month, Pacific Legal Foundation plans to submit a motion for summary judgment to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California that could resolve some or all of LaPant’s case based on “application of the law to the undisputed facts in the case,” Francois said.
If the case is not resolved, it could move to a jury trial sometime in 2020.
The Daily Signal sought comment from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency. Neither agency had responded by publication time.
What’s particularly alarming to LaPant and other farmers familiar with his case is that in their view the Corps saw fit to modify the Clean Water Act without congressional approval, Francois said.
What an absolute mess. Just goes to show what liberal lawmakers do. There are so many reasons why President Trump needs four more years. Instead of wasting millions upon millions with sham investigations and impeachment hearings, Congress could be attempting to streamline government agencies and make life actually better for the American people.
Featured image credit: dcclothesline.com/