USA Today reports that a Northern California farmer received a multimillion-dollar fine for failing to apply for the necessary permit to plow and plant. “The case is the first time that we’re aware of that says you need to get a [Army Corps of Engineers] permit to plow to grow crops,” said Anthony Francois of the Pacific Legal Foundation. Francois added, “We’re not going to produce much food under those kinds of regulations.” At issue is 450 acres purchased by John Duarte in 2012. The farmer planned to grow wheat, but the Army Corps of Engineers and the California Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board claimed Duarte violated the Clean Water Act by not obtaining a permit to discharge dredged or fill material into seasonal wetlands considered waters of the United States. An August trial date is scheduled.
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