Sunday, August 29, 2004

Willis in the Wetlands

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!


Nick Speth said...

Odd, because my brother lives in Hailey, and I've actually seen Bruce's home there. One of my friends actually had a picnic on what they found out later was his lawn. Anyway I don't remember seeing any wetlands nearby. But it's a big property, and I suppose there must be some kind of pond or something on it.

The only thing I can think of is maybe the fine is standard on the second offense, because presumably Willis knew he was going to get in trouble for it. So they may be fining him due to aparant contempt for their regulations.

But I doubt that he really was contemptful or deliberate in his violation of the law. All the non-celeb locals of the Sun Valley, Ketchum, Hailey area talk very highly of Bruce Willis; he seems like a very down-to-earth guy, and I hate to see him in hot water with my former governor's agency.

Tara A. Rowe said...

Nick do you ever think maybe it is just you and I reading these blogs? Sure seems that way to me lately. Thanks for your input on the post, I'm checking into the Wilis situation and what the typical procedure is for a two time offender. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

So, I still haven't taken the time to get a username, but I thought I'd get around to responding ot Bruce. I love the man. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a strange obbsession with him. I think the EPA was wrong to fine him. He stopped immediatly after he was cited. That's all I have to say,except he sure is hot.