Farm Bureau: EPA waters rule ‘serious threat’
April 28, 2014
Farm Bureau calls EPA waters rule 'serious threat'
The American Farm Bureau Federation on Tuesday said its review of the Environmental Protection Agency's "waters of the United States" proposed rule found it to be "dismaying" and that the group will fight the finalization of the rule.
"The EPA proposal poses a serious threat to farmers, ranchers and other landowners," Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman said in a news release.
"Under EPA's proposed new rule, waters — even ditches — are regulated even if they are miles from the nearest 'navigable' waters," Stallman said. "Indeed, so-called 'waters' are regulated even if they aren't wet most of the time."
"EPA says its new rule will reduce uncertainty, and that much seems to be true: there isn't much uncertainty if most every feature where water flows or stands after a rainfall is federally regulated," he said.
If the proposed rule is finalized, farmers, ranchers and other landowners "will face a tremendous new roadblock to ordinary land use activities" because permits would be required for many activities, Farm Bureau said.
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In addition, Farm Bureau said the "interpretive rule" that attempts to clarify certain statutory exemptions for agricultural conservation practices would "apply only to 'dredge and fill' permit requirements."
"They do not protect farmers from federal veto power over pest and weed control, fertilizer application, and other essential farming activities that may result in the addition of 'pollutants' to 'navigable waters,' Farm Bureau said, "providing one views every ditch and wet spot across the landscape as 'navigable waters.'"