The EPA’s proposal to regulate everyday farming practices isn’t just impractical; it’s illegal, American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman told the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment this morning.
“The EPA ‘Waters of the U.S.’ proposal broadly expands federal jurisdiction,” Stallman said. “It threatens local land-use and zoning authority, and is an end-run around Congress and the Supreme Court.”
The EPA claims that farmers would face less regulation under its latest proposal. In fact, the rule would micromanage farming via newly-mandated procedures for fencing, spraying, weeding and more. Permitting, meanwhile, could delay time-sensitive tasks for months, potentially ruining crops in the process.
“EPA 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,” Stallman said.
The Clean Water Act was signed into law in 1972 with the clear purpose of protecting the nation’s waters from pollution of all sorts. Congress gave states, not the EPA, the primary responsibility to oversee land use. The latest proposal would turn that relationship on its head.
In a statement issued yesterday, Stallman said EPA’s decision to extend the time available to comment on the proposed rule is a victory for farming families and a clear signal that America’s farmers know how to stand up and be counted.
“The new schedule gives us until October 20 to comment on the Waters of the United States rule, and until July 7 to comment on the accompanying interpretive rule. Rest assured we will use that time to its best advantage. We will ditch this rule,” Stallman said.
To help Farm Bureau members and others express the need for EPA to “Ditch the Rule,” Farm Bureau has launched a website at ditchtherule.fb.org. Focused on topics and analysis related to the “waters of the U.S.” proposed rule, the easy-to-navigate site includes several sections: Take Action, Go Social, Find Answers and Get Resources. Visitors may also sign up to learn more, comment on the proposed rule and send tweets using the hashtag #DitchTheRule.