Film documents California farmer’s battle over Clean Water Act

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has produced a video that highlights the struggle experienced by John Duarte, a California farmer, when it comes to federal water regulations.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, Duarte violated the Clean Water Act when he plowed his farm despite the Environmental Protection Agency telling farmers that normal farming is exempt from regulation.

“The Corps and EPA aren’t trying to micromanage farmers. They’re trying to stop farmers from farming their fields. They’re trying to turn our farm land into habitat preservation. They’re simply trying to chase us off of our land,” Duarte, a fourth-generation farmer, said.

Duarte took his case to court but was counter-sued from the U.S. Justice Department for millions in penalties. He is being penalized because the Army Corps of Engineers says he broke the clay below the top soil that keeps the fields from draining.

“They’re complaining that we’ve converted the 18 inches between furrow marks to an upland and it is no longer a wetland. Even though we still have wetland vegetation, nothing has changed, except the Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t like the fact that we’ve plowed our land,” Duarte said.

Duarte is being represented by Tony Francois of the Pacific Legal Foundation.

Organizations in this story

American Farm Bureau Federation 600 Maryland Ave SW Suite 1000 Washington, DC - 20024

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC - 20460

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