Last week, American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman released a statement in support of Reps. Robert Hurt (R-Va.) and Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) H.R. 4278, the Preserving Rural Resources Act.
“H.R. 4278, the Preserving Rural Resources Act, introduced in the House of Representatives, addresses a critical issue,” Stallman said. “The legislation reinforces agricultural exemptions granted to farmers and ranchers by Congress in Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.
Farmers, ranchers and the forestry community are facing increased federal regulatory and compliance costs, as well as constraints on land used for the production of food, fiber and fuel. We’ve seen a concerted effort by regulators to narrow the scope and usefulness of the Clean Water Act exemption Congress explicitly intended for agriculture.” This legislation is intended to reaffirm the following exemptions:
• Normal farming, silviculture and ranching activities;
• Maintenance and emergency reconstruction of dikes, dams, levees, riprap, breakwaters, causeways and bridge abutments;
• Construction or maintenance of farm or stock ponds and irrigation ditches, and maintenance of drainage ditches;
• Construction of temporary sedimentation basins;
• Construction and maintenance of farm and forest roads or temporary roads for moving mining equipment; and
• Any activity with respect to a state approved programs
The Hurt (R-VA) and Altmire (D-Pa) amendment simply clarify that these exemptions apply to activities described listed above. AFBF is seeking bipartisan cosponsors to introduce this legislation in the Senate.