Farmer agrees to pay feds $1.1-million fine for plowing his own field

California farmer John Duarte thought he was acting within the law when he plowed a field on his property in 2012. The government didn't see it that way.  Because he plowed up some "vernal pools" of standing water that have been designated as off limits to farmers, he was fined $2.8 million and ordered to purchase tens of millions of dollars in "mitigation credits." Eventually, rather than face much larger fines and penalties, he agreed to settle the case for $1.1 million in fines and $770,000 in mitigation credits. Daily Caller: "This has been a difficult decision for me, my family, and the entire company, and we have come to it reluctantly," Duarte said in a statement. "But given the risks posed by further trial on the government's request for up to $45 million in penalties, and the catastrophic impact that any significant fraction of that would have on our business, our hundreds of employees, our customers...(Read Full Post)