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May 1, 2014

Farm Bureau Voices Opposition to Proposed Waters of the U.S. Rule

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

During a field hearing before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure this week, Farm Bureau raised its voice to oppose the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers’ recently proposed waters of the U.S. rule. Seanica Otterby has the story.
OtterbyPennsylvania beef and grain farmer Tommy Nagle testified before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Monday regarding his concerns about the possible consequences the proposed waters of the U.S. rule would have on farmers and ranchers.
NagleClean water is important to all of us, but the hearing is not about water quality. It’s about federal agencies attempting to gain regulatory control over land use using the claim clean water. Farmers are straightforward people who believe words mean something. Those of us in agriculture believe that the authors of the Clean Water Act include the term navigable for a reason.
OtterbyNagle notes that two Supreme Court rulings have affirmed the federal government is limited to regulating navigable waters. But he says EPA’s recent proposal gives conflicting messages and would extend the agency’s reach.
NagleJust because homeowners’ lawns or farm fields or a school playground collects water after rain does not mean that they should be regulated under waters of the United States. But from what I understand, the regulatory proposal would do exactly that.
OtterbyNagle says the proposed rule is supposed to be a clarification, but instead provides more confusion and less clarity for farm families on certain aspects of the law.
NagleI am seriously concerned about the proposal. If I misunderstand the regulation, I could be fined $37,500 per day. That’s a pretty scary thought for a producer like myself.
OtterbyFarm Bureau is urging EPA to extend the comment period on the proposed rule to 180 days to allow farmers to fully assess how it will impact their businesses and provide feedback. Nagle says it would be even better if Congress took action and helped farmers convince EPA and the Corps to Ditch the Rule. Seanica Otterby, Washington.

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