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May 15, 2014

EPA Waters of the U.S. Analysis Misses the Mark

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

The Environmental Protection Agency claims it is not broadening jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act in its proposed Waters of the U.S. rule. The American Farm Bureau disagrees and says the proposed rule overreaches and will expand EPA’s jurisdiction. Seanica Otterby has the story.
OtterbyEPA has completed an analysis of its proposed Waters of the U.S. rule that shows there would only be an additional 1,300 acres that would be regulated under the Clean Water Act. American Farm Bureau economist Veronica Nigh says that number completely misses the mark and it is time to ditch the rule.
NighOur analysis reveals that just from the side of wetlands, the rule could potentially impact more than 106 million acres. Cropland, pastureland, CRP, rangeland, forestland and other agricultural lands. These are USDA NRCS data that says more than 106 million acres in the United States that are rural lands are on wetlands and, as a result of this rule, would potentially come under jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.
OtterbyFarming is a water-dependent enterprise, Nigh says. If the waters that cross between, among and within farm lands are regulated as waters of the U.S. - she says the implications for farmers and ranchers will be disastrous.
NighThis isn’t an isolated problem. There aren’t just going to be a few farmers and ranchers implicated that have to deal with these new rules. It’s extensive, and it’s going to affect almost all farmers and ranchers in the United States.
OtterbyNigh says the wetlands expansion is just one of many new definitions Farm Bureau is concerned about in the proposed rule.
NighOur next job is to start measuring those other categories because this incredible scope of the implication of wetlands is just the tip of the iceberg.
OtterbySeanica Otterby, Washington.

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