Government's forced 'wetlands' campaign now facing constitutional challenge

 April 20, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

The government's decision to force landowners to comply with an ideological "wetlands" campaign, under the threat of the loss of their rights and benefits, is being challenged in court as unconstitutional.

The Liberty Justice Center and Pacific Legal Foundation have filed an action in U.S. District Court in Iowa charging that the Congress-approved "Swampbuster" law is violating farmer's property rights.

First, the case charges, the government is "conditioning" the receipt of federal benefits on the waiver of a constitutional right. Then, too, it is taking private property without just compensation.

"The lawsuit also alleges that Swampbuster violates the Commerce Clause, and that regulations implementing it unlawfully expand the USDA’s power beyond what the law authorizes," the Liberty Justice Center reported.

The background is that the "Swampbuster" law was adopted in 1985, and was intended to protect the nation's wetlands.

To do that, it demands farmers leave idle "any land on their property deemed 'wetlands.'"

"To ensure compliance, the federal government makes farmers sign an agreement to give up their wetlands to be eligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture benefits—which include everything from disaster relief and crop insurance to the ability to apply for loans. If farmers ever do anything to an area deemed wetlands, they could lose all USDA benefits for every property that they, or anyone affiliated with them, own," the organizations reported.

The government does have the power to take private property for public use, through eminent domain, but then the Fifth Amendment requires "just compensation."

The legal groups are representing CTM Holdings, a family-run Iowa company that owns and manages approximately 1,075 acres of Iowa farmland. CTM Holdings rents parcels to local farmers.

Jim Conlan, owner and manager of CTM Holdings, grew up in a farming family and has invested in Iowa farmland, including his grandparents’ old farm, to reconnect with his roots after a successful career as a corporate attorney and amid a current career in the finance/private equity industry, the law firms reported.

But the federal government has claimed that nine acres of a 71-acre parcel of CTM Holdings’ property are wetlands, "even though the area is dry, arable land that is not connected to any water source, contains no standing water, and is not inundated by water at any point in the year," the report said.

Because of "Swampbuster," those nine acres no longer can be used – for literally anything. If they are farmed, all of the tenants on the entire acreage are threatened with the loss of USDA benefits.

"While well-intentioned, this conservation scheme is unconstitutional. The government cannot condition benefits on the waiver of a constitutional right—in this case, the Fifth Amendment right to be compensated when the government takes some or all of your land. If welfare recipients had to promise to never criticize the government to receive welfare benefits, it would be plainly unconstitutional. Why should farmers’ rights be any different?" charged Loren Seehase, of Liberty Justice.

Added Paige Gilliard, of Pacific Legal, "The Constitution does not grant the federal government the power to regulate any piece of land in the country it wishes. Nor may government force people to give up their rights in exchange for a government benefit."

Latest News

© 2024 - Patriot News Alerts