When Assessing Burdens for Farmers, Other Landowners, White House Shouldn't Duck Overhaul of Wetlands Regulatory Juggernaut
The Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) Legal Pulse, 2018
10 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2018
Date Written: February 9, 2018
Last year, two WLF Legal Pulse posts (here and here) explored the federal government’s incremental expansion of control over privately owned agricultural property through the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the law’s hydra-like oversight of wetlands. Those commentaries presented one Erie, Pennsylvania farmer’s 30-year legal battle as a microcosm of how agenda-driven regulators can upset the balance between environmental protection and individual rights. Ironically, that balance empowers small and family-farmers’ contribution to another goal of green activists: sustainable local food production.
New information discovered from the legal battle against farmer Robert Brace reveals that his plight has been part of a broader, decades-long crusade led by a select group of environmental officials, with the active support of special-interest activists, to expand wetlands and challenge decisions by agriculture regulators. That campaign, and its success over the course of numerous presidential administrations, should not go unnoticed as the current regulatory reform effort, especially as it relates to “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS), moves forward.
Keywords: prior converted cropland, commenced conversion, food security act of 1985, clean water act section 404, wetlands, ducks unlimited, inc., national wildlife federation, regulatory juggernaut, United States v. Brace, anti-cropland campaign, activist regulators, activist interest groups, WOTUS
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