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March 20, 2014

Wyoming Case Tip of Iceberg Regarding EPA Overreach

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory overreach has long been a concern for the American Farm Bureau Federation, specifically regarding the Clean Water Act. EPA is pushing to propose a rule to expand its authority to intrastate waters, including ditches and farm and stock ponds, which AFBF regulatory specialist Don Parrish says would create many problems for farmers and ranchers. Seanica Otterby has the story.
OtterbyAmerican Farm Bureau regulatory specialist Don Parrish says EPA is trying to implement new rules before it’s gone through the established rulemaking process. Parrish says farmers and ranchers are already getting caught up in expansive definitions, including Wyoming farmer Andy Johnson.
ParrishThat’s what we’re talking about, narrowing an exemption for a farm pond in this case. And now we’ve got a farmer threatened with $70,000 a day penalties. Those are the types of things that is really going to put farmers in a really bad situation.
OtterbyFarmers want to protect water, Parrish says, but EPA is trying to protect landscape features most people don’t consider water. He says farmers and ranchers will have a hard time fighting EPA and a statute that not only carries civil penalties, but criminal penalties, too. Parrish says this is just the tip of the iceberg.
ParrishWe’re going to see more conflicts over the types of activities that farmers have to utilize to grow food and fiber and fuel on our landscape. We’re going to just see that conflict escalate when EPA broadens its regulatory footprint.
OtterbyParrish says Johnson’s case is an important signal leading to more conflicts and questions about what is exempt and what is not. Seanica Otterby, Washington.

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