Editor’s note: The story was the direct result of a reader tip. Got a news tip? Let us know.

After being sanctioned by federal regulators for plowing up protected wetlands on his California farm, a U.S. lawmaker is now spearheading an effort to roll back federal water protections — including the very same provisions that he once paid penalties for violating.

If the scheme is successful, environmental groups say industrial polluters could more freely contaminate wetlands, rivers, and other waters, harming both the nation’s water resources and the communities depending on them. It could also benefit the lawmaker spearheading the attack, since he still owns the farm where he was found to be destroying wetlands.