WILLARDS, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- SaveFarmFamilies.org applauds the Maryland General Assembly and especially Sen. Richard Colburn for granting funds to protect Maryland farmers from future attacks by radical environmentalists. The Assembly recently passed Budget Amendment R30B21.00, which will provide $250,000 through the University System of Maryland to “leverage State resources to assist farmers in the State with estates and trust issues, compliance with environmental laws, and other matters necessary to preserve family farms.”
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 and the taxpayer-funded University of Maryland School of Law.
“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. Clearly many in the state of Maryland see flaws in their approach. 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.
Professor Barrett has a history of working with the Waterkeeper Alliance and was an early architect of the lawsuit. In 2007, the Waterkeeper Alliance hosted an Eastern Shore Poultry Summit, which included Professor Barrett who, according to a local newspaper report, “called environmentalists to action by persuading them to monitor activity and use legal action as the best way to change behavior.” At the 2010 Annual Waterkeeper Convention, Professor Barrett and Assateague Coastkeeper Kathy Phillips gave a presentation outlining the strategic framework for the lawsuit against the Hudsons and Perdue Farms.
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.
Other groups are adopting similar legal tactics to attack America’s family farmers, including Food & Water Watch, which recently hired one of the lead litigators in the Hudson lawsuit from the Waterkeeper Alliance. According to an October 19, 2011, Food & Water Watch press release they will seek to use litigation and the judiciary to enact their agenda, in essence to replicate the Waterkeepers’ misguided legal tactics through FWW’s “Legal Advocacy Project.”
Community supporters of the Hudsons created SaveFarmFamilies.org in order to protect struggling farm families from bankruptcy brought on by unfounded lawsuits filed by radical anti-agriculture groups. SaveFarmFamilies.org has raised public awareness of the tactics used by environmental groups to manipulate the legal system in order to advance their agenda.
“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.”
For more information on the lawsuit visit: www.savefarmfamilies.org