Last July’s “Food for Thought” column was headlined: “America suffers ‘litigious pollution’.” It noted the growing legal legions employed by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and others.
These groups “have become so bold that they now pose a greater threat to America’s economy than armed terrorists. Because of this growing ‘sue-‘em’ society, even state and federal agencies have been forced to legal-up their staffs.”
Today, I must add there’s evidence that these legal legions are pursuing new “law” by judicial precedent and outright intimidation. They are no longer satisfied to let state and federal laws stamped by Congress, guide environmental enforcement. And it is spurring a growing fear within farm communities
That’s exactly what continues to happen with the Riverkeeper Alliance’s pursuit of Alan and Kristin Hudson, owners of Hudson Farm near Berlin, Md. Despite the fact that the Hudsons are complying with Maryland environmental regulations, Waterkeeper and its legal crony, University of Maryland’s Environmental Law Clinic have dragged the Hudson family and co-defendant Perdue Farms through the court system for close to two years – losing on most or all of their contentions, only to appeal to a higher court.
The Wicomico County Young Farmers and Ranchers, the Maryland Farm Bureau and Perdue started SaveFarmFamilies.org and the Family Farmers Legal Defense Fund to raise funds for what they call the Waterkeepers’ practice of bankruptcy by litigation. They say the Waterkeeper Alliance continues their lawsuits until people are forced into bankruptcy before the case ever reaches a courtroom and they want to raise sufficient funds for the Hudsons to continue to fight their legal battle.
Now, the Hudsons and Perdue face a March 12 trial date.
Stay tuned. I’ll be addressing this subject in more detail in the April issue’s “Food for Thought” column. In the meantime, I would really like to know what you think about this phenomenon.
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