A U.S. District Court judge rules that soil is a pollutant, a plow is a point source of pollution, and that sometimes dry land is navigable water. This is the case in counter lawsuits between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and John Duarte of Duarte Nursery. Sabrina Hill reports.
It all started in 2012, when Duarte hired a contractor to till his land near Redding (Northern California) to prepare to plant winter wheat. The contractor unintentionally encroached on parts of buffer zones on the land. Although later studies found that no environmental damage was done, the Army Corps of Engineers used the Clean Water Act to take action. Duarte countersued, but Friday, the judge ruled in favor of the Corps. The judgment included opinions that soil is a pollutant, a plow is a point source of pollution, and that land that has a nexus to another body of water – even if the nexus is dry – is regulated as navigable water. Tony Francois with the Pacific Legal Foundation is one of the attorneys representing Duarte.
Listen to his comments and the full interview below.