August 3, 2007 / 6:22 PM / 10 years ago

Court punishes Moses for parting the waters

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A man called Moses who tried to part the waters of an Idaho creek for a real estate development project violated the Clean Water Act and should go to prison, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.

Real estate broker and developer Charles Moses sought to reshape the flow of Idaho's Teton Creek near a housing development starting in the 1980s. He argued that he was not increasing pollutants into U.S. waters and did not heed U.S. agencies ordering him to stop.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals did not agree with Moses' arguments and upheld a district court sentence of a year and a half in prison for each of the three-counts of his conviction.

"While his sang-froid (or even contempt) in the face of agency demands may show either courage or foolhardiness, it does not save him from the consequences of his actions," the court wrote.

According to the book of Exodus in the Bible, Moses led the Hebrew people out of Egypt, and when they reached the Red Sea he raised his hand and the waters miraculously parted. They were able to cross on dry land and the waters closed on the pursuing Eygptian army.

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