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Friday, March 23, 2012

EPA’s 22-year battle with cranberry farmer ends, but questions and anger linger

The government is a master at beating on folks until they just give up and capitulate to its tyranny. One cranberry farmer fought the EPA for 22 years. It's cost him $2.5 million and he's now broke.
Under a consent decree released this month and currently available for public comment, a Massachusetts cranberry farmer will have to restore 26 acres of wetlands and pay a fine of $75,000 to resolve charges that he violated the Clean Water Act when he built two sections of his farm in the late 1970s and ’80s. It took 22 years to reach that decision, and one legal and environmental expert involved in the proceedings estimates that the government spent well over $10 million to pursue the matter....The farmer, 80-year-old Charles Johnson, said in an interview last week that if he had the money, he would keep fighting. But after spending about $2.5 million out of his own pocket and with $170,000 in unpaid legal bills, the stubborn Korean War veteran said he simply could not afford to go on. As it is, he expects his children and grandchildren — nine of whom have been born in the time that he has been fighting EPA over his farm — will continue to deal with the issue after he is gone. EPA plans to continue to monitor the property for years to come. But while his money has run out, his anger continues to burn.
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