The Maryland General Assembly has granted funds to protect Maryland farmers from future attacks by radical environmentalists. The Assembly recently passed Budget Amendment R30B21.00, which will provide $250,000 to “assist farmers in the State with estates and trust issues, compliance with environmental laws, and other matters necessary to preserve family farms,” according to SaveFarmFamilies.org
This is a major victory for members of SaveFarmFamilies.org and state taxpayers who are outraged that Alan and Kristin Hudson, a fourth-generation farm family from Berlin, Md., are the victims of a meritless lawsuit driven by the Waterkeeper Alliance, according to a SaveFarmFamilies.org press release .
“We view this $250,000 allocation as a major victory for the Hudsons and farm families everywhere,” said Patricia Langenfelder, president of the Maryland Farm Bureau and a SaveFarmFamilies.org member. “This is yet another signal that the Waterkeepers and the Environmental Law Clinic didn’t really think or care about the ramifications of suing first and asking questions later. Hopefully this new funding will prevent others from pursuing such careless litigation in the future and help protect other farm families from what the Hudsons have had to endure.”
Due to reckless lawsuits by radical environmentalists, farmers like the Hudsons now need access to such a fund in order to level the playing field. According to the Waterkeeper Alliance’s 2011 Annual Report, the group aims to push policy through “hard-nosed litigation” tactics. The Waterkeeper Alliance has developed a large stable of seasoned trial lawyers to drive its agenda, one of whom is Professor Jane Barrett, director of the University of Maryland’s Environmental Law Clinic.
Maryland’s governor, Martin O’Malley, highlighted this injustice in a letter to Phoebe Haddon, dean of the University of Maryland School of Law. In his letter Governor O’Malley said that the Waterkeeper Alliance is benefitting from “the economic weapon of unlimited litigation resources” by getting free assistance from the taxpayer-funded university.
The Waterkeeper Alliance raises more than $3 million a year through lavish fundraisers, while the Hudsons rely on local support and chicken and dumpling benefit dinners. For example, the Waterkeepers held their annual star-studded ski event in Deer Valley, Utah, last December, where they raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from corporate sponsorships. The Waterkeeper Alliance is also supported by wealthy foundations, including $350,000 from the Town Creek Foundation, with $100,000 in 2010 earmarked for this lawsuit.
“I think we have seen public anger grow over both the Waterkeepers’ legal action in Maryland and the free legal services being offered to them by the University of Maryland Law School, which is supposed to be helping Maryland businesses and individuals,” said Andrew McLean, president of the Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc. and a SaveFarmFamilies.org member. “This new funding for family farmers shows just how serious many people, including our governing body, feel about this injustice.”
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