The American Farm Bureau Federation is asking members of Congress to support legislation that would preserve existing U.S. water rights and responsibilities to the Clean Water Act. Farm Bureau says H.R. 4965 reaffirms the longstanding provisions of the Clean Water Act and would prevent the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers from pursuing their proposed guidance and using it as a basis for regulation. Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman says the proposal improperly changes the law of the land – effectively eliminating the term navigable from the Clean Water Act and dramatically expanding the scope of federal jurisdiction under the act. He adds that it virtually eliminates a central precept of the act – which reserves certain waters to the exclusive jurisdiction of the states.
Farm Bureau believes allowing the agencies to pursue the guidance raises three critical considerations: whether the law permits such a major policy shift to be pursued through guidance; whether the agencies are exceeding the authority granted them by Congress; and the impact the policy change would have on the economic health of the agricultural sector. Stallman says implementing such a significant change to the Clean Water Act through guidance is indefensible. Without congressional approval – he says the agencies should not move forward and assert federal regulatory power – especially through an informal guidance document.
Source: NAFB News Service