Generally supportive of the EPA, I was floored this week when Bruce Willis was fined $21,000 for violating a federal wetlands protection law. Why you might ask? Not because I don’t feel he was in the wrong, but because I honestly think the EPA is capitalizing on his celebrity. Following a visit from officials, Willis immediately stopped work on his Sun Valley residence, promising to repair any damages to the wetland area.
The state of Idaho is 1% wetlands, a percentage I understand the EPA is greatly concerned with. Their concern should be in the missing zoning procedures that would prevent residential areas from existing in those known wetland reserves. The Idaho Environmental Protection Agency, though more conservative than most state ran branches of the EPA, is in a word being “harsh.”
An average citizen in other states (Sun Valley is by no means “average”) would only be required to repair any damages and to return the land to its original composition. No fine. No problem. But of course in this case, since the 1% of wetlands lies in an area of the state populated by higher class, higher income individuals, the EPA sees this as an opportunity to boost revenue for their mediocre agency. (Mediocre only in the state of Idaho…don’t get me wrong.)
Previously Willis encountered a suit from the exact same agency, which was dismissed on grounds that he would replant and restore the character of the wetlands. Why $21,000 this time? No apparent reason other than The Whole Ten Yards billing he just received. Shame on the EPA. I’m sure there are a few politicians around who would liberally give a donation…it is an election year after all!