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April 3, 2014

Farm Bureau Dismayed By EPA Proposed Waters Rule

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

The American Farm Bureau Federation has carefully reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed waters of the U.S. rule and believes it an attempt by the agency to insert itself into local land use issues rather than protecting water quality. Seanica Otterby has the story.
OtterbyAfter reviewing EPA’s waters of the U.S. proposed rule, Farm Bureau thinks EPA is trying to extend Congress’ definition of navigable waters to include land that is only rarely wet - such as ditches and so-called “ephemeral streams” that only carry water when it rains. If this rule is enacted, Farm Bureau regulatory specialist Don Parrish says there will be a few changes for farmers and ranchers.
ParrishThere was a piece of this proposal that was supposed to be put into place to allow agriculture to continue to do certain practices. We think that actually narrowed longstanding exemptions. One of the exemptions they allowed was to allow farmers to build fence.
OtterbyUnder this proposed rule, Parrish says that action of building a fence would now require a permit.
ParrishIt’s not only building fences. It’s doing a lot of things that farmers do on a routine basis, and we think that is more of an intrusion into what farmers and ranchers do every day on their farm.
OtterbyFarm Bureau wants EPA to extend the comment period for this rule to 180 days. Parrish says Farm Bureau will be educating members of Congress on the implications of the proposed rule in hopes it will influence EPA’s final decision on waters of the U.S. Seanica Otterby, Washington.

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