A new Environmental Protection Agency rule will illegally expand EPA jurisdiction to millions of acres of once-unregulated farm land, exposing farmers to fines and penalties for ordinary farming activities, the American Farm Bureau Federation told Congress today.
"The EPA isn't content with regulating just water – they want to control land use, too, even though Congress and the Courts have already told them no," Don Parrish, Senior Director Regulatory Affairs at the American Farm Bureau Federation said.
The agency's overreach, Parrish said, ignores the will of Congress and courts, alike. And as bad as the rule is, the agency compounds farmers' problems by calling into question dozens of exemptions for basic farming techniques through a separate, interpretative rule already in effect.
"Farmers face an impossible choice," Parrish said. The proposed rule that expands jurisdiction and the interpretive rule together are a bad idea that threatens livelihoods as well as local land-use and zoning authority. It's time to ditch this rule."
The Clean Water Act, signed into law in 1972, protects the nation's waters from pollution of all sorts. But Congress gave states, not the EPA, the primary responsibility to oversee land use. The latest proposal would turn that relationship on its head.
Farm Bureau, together with dozens of other farm and industry groups, is fighting the EPA's Waters of the U.S. overreach. Find out more at ditchtherule.fb.org.