Legal Foundation Helps Farmer in Wetlands Case

Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) on March 9 announced the formal launch of the “Charlie Johnson Legal Defense Fund for Americans' Property Rights,” to help a Massachusetts farmer involved in a wetlands case that may have implications for private property owners across the country.

Charlie Johnson, 78, of Carver, Mass., is a cranberry farmer who has been fined $75,000 five years ago and ordered to pay more than $1 million in mitigation costs after his family shored up some bogs and built new ones on his land without seeking federal approval, according to a press release from PLF. His family has been farming the land since the 1920s.

Johnson is represented by PLF attorneys, free of charge. The foundation is a legal watchdog for property rights and a balanced approach to environmental regulations.

According to PLF attorneys, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is violating a 2006 Supreme Court ruling that curbed federal regulatory power under the Clean Water Act. In Rapanos v. U.S. (a PLF case), the Court said the Clean Water Act applied only to land where federal regulators could show a direct flow of water from the land to a navigable river, lake, or ocean.

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