Army veteran fighting government for regulating part of his farm to protect spiders
by ADRIAN MOJICA
August 9th 2019
WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (WZTV) – An Army veteran who served his country in the Vietnam War is suing the federal government for regulating part of his family farm over spiders.
John Yearwood runs a small business and lives on the family farm which has been in the family since 1871, nearly 150 years. Spanning 865 acres in Williamson County, Texas, Yearwood is faced with being unable to use part of his land because of a tiny spider he's never seen.
In a lawsuit filed by the non-profit American Stewards of Liberty on behalf of Yearwood, the suit claims the U.S. Department of the Interior is using the Interstate Commerce Clause to keep him from using part of the land due to an obscure cave spider species.
According to the lawsuit, the government is using the clause to protect the Bone Cave Harvestman, a tiny spider which only exists in underground caves in two central Texas counties. It is believed this species of spider lives on Yearwood's family land. The spider is considered endangered, thus protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Due to the endangered designation, Yearwood would be committing a federal crime if he did anything to harm or disturb the habitat of the Bone Cave Havestman spiders. The situation has put Yearwood's family in a tight position according to the American Stewards of Liberty. The organization states Yearwood has used the land for community benefit, allowing church groups, youth groups, and 4-H clubs to use the property for camping. However, the best part of their land for camping is also home to where the spiders are believed to live underground.
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