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An Inalienable Right To Burn Your Field

The battle over field burning rages on. Some Idahoans are still trying to figure out ways to stop it.

Idaho legislators are equally busy figuring out ways to allow it to continue. How many farmers do you figure are in that legislature? Answer: Lots, or at least a majority.

In Lawrence "Bud" Moon, et al. v. North Idaho Farmers Association, the Idaho Supreme Court upheld farmers' rights to burn their fields over a challenge that the practice constituted a nuisance and was unconstitutional.

Unconstitutional? Field burning? I've read the U.S. Constitution, and I can guarantee you that there's nothing in there about an inalienable right to burn your field. I don't know about the Idaho Constitution, but I'm pretty sure it's not in there, either.

Idaho being in the Ninth Circuit, the Idaho Supreme Court gave a tip of the hat to the Covington opinion. They said that where there is no loss of access or denial of use, there is no taking under Covington. Well, that makes sense - the farmers are being allowed to burn their fields, not denied.

Maybe the plaintiffs challenging the field burning meant that their rights to clean air were being taken. Yes, that is exactly what they argued: they have a sensitivity to grass smoke.

Well, that protected right isn't in either Constitution, either.

If they want to win their case, the environmentalists are going to have to find another legal theory; the Court didn't bite on this one. How about the Clean Air Act?

If at first you don't succeed, try a different forum.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 at 09:02 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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