Virginia Farmer Hopes to Get Conservation Group Off Her Back

This meeting may have turned the tide for Martha Boneta in her battle with the Piedmont Environmental Council.

Virginia farmer Martha Boneta’s desire to have an environmental conservation group replaced as overseer of her property has moved a step closer to reality.

Officials of the Piedmont Environmental Council have agreed to a meeting Friday to talk about ending a bitter standoff with Boneta by handing off enforcement duties for a conservation easement on Boneta’s farm to another environmental organization in Virginia.

Simply persuading the Piedmont Environmental Council to agree to the meeting marks a “major victory for property rights,” says Tom DeWeese, president of the American Policy Center, a Washington, D.C.-based group that champions those rights. DeWeese adds:

Martha Boneta, like most victims in these cases, does not have near the resources of money and political power as the PEC. If such battles can be fought across the nation in the same way, it will have a profound effect on how such groups behave in the future. Perhaps they will be less aggressive and more willing to respect the property owner.

Under the proposed arrangement, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation would take over responsibility for the conservation easement on Boneta’s farm in Paris, Va. Friday’s meeting is set for the foundation’s offices in Richmond.

Conservation easements are legally binding …read more