There they go again — Feds levy $2.8 million fine for farming own land

Government overreach and entanglement is going strong.

Despite a new administration, the broad reach and (and often abusive) powers of government are still apparent in our country.

This is an all too common story about an American using his land for useful reasons, but having the heavy hand of government come down on him … and come down hard.

John Duarte bought 450 acres of land near Modesto, CA in 2012 with the intention of farming wheat. Duarte took the effort to hire outside consultants to report which parts of his land could be plowed and which could not because of drainage issues into local creeks which are considered “waters of the United States.”

After planting his crops, the Army Corps of Engineers (isn’t the Army supposed to be defending our country from outside attacks?) ordered Duarte to stop his farming efforts because he had violated the Clean Water Act and had not obtained a permit for his work, which affected wetlands considered part of the United States.

And then the U.S. Government piled on by fining Duarte $2.8 million. The trial goes to court this summer where the government, on top of the multi-million dollar fine, is asking the judge to order Duarte to repair the damage to the wetlands, including smoothing out the soil and replanting native plants in the wetlands, as well as requiring him to purchase other wetlands to compensate for the alleged damage.

In an era when we need entrepreneurship and old-fashioned hard work through farming to help feed our country, we don’t need the government stomping it out all out.

On the upside, Duarte was not charged with the Endangered Species Act by destroying fairy shrimp or their habitat.