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June 13, 2014

Proposed Waters of the U.S. Rule Sets No Limit on Federal Regulation

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

The American Farm Bureau has carefully analyzed the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed rule regulating navigable waters. American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment earlier this week on the proposed rule. Seanica Otterby has the story.
OtterbyIn its proposed water rule - the EPA and U.S. Army Corps use scientific-sounding terms when referring to features it defines as navigable waters to give the impression that the proposed rule would apply only to features that are always wet. American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman says EPA has said the proposed rule would not cover ditches, but that simply is not true.
StallmanThe proposed rule would categorically regulate all so-called tributaries that ever carry any amount of water that eventually flows to a navigable water. I’ve been farming for decades. I’ve been on thousands of farms all across this country, and I can tell you that ditches are meant to carry water. That is why most ditches will be regulated under this rule.
OtterbyEPA claims only 1,300 acres nationwide would be affected by the rule, but Stallman told the subcommittee that the rule would have far-reaching effects.
StallmanEPA is deliberately misleading the regulated community about the impacts on land use. If more people knew how regulators could use the proposed rule to require permits for common activities on dry land, or penalize landowners for not getting them, they would be outraged.
OtterbyStallman says Farm Bureau believes the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule would be the broadest expansion of regulatory control over land use and private property ever attempted by a federal agency.
StallmanIt takes away land-use decisions from state and local governments. It goes against the intent of Congress and the Supreme Court. And it negates your authority as members of Congress to write the law of the land. The bottom line for farmers and ranchers is that the proposed rule will make it much more difficult, and potentially impossible, to farm near these land features.
OtterbyStallman urges Congress not to allow this unlawful expansion of the Clean Water Act. Seanica Otterby, Washington.

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