Tuesday, July 01, 2014

EPA water proposal rattles ag industry

For years, farmers and ranchers have cast a wary eye toward new laws and regulations from Washington that they fear will be costly and burdensome. Agricultural producers argue they know the best way to take care of their land, not only to maximize production but to preserve the acreage they depend upon to survive. Now, a rule being proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency outlining which bodies of water the agency would oversee under the Clean Water Act has again rattled the agriculture industry. The EPA says it is necessary after recent court rulings to clarify the 1972 law. Many farmers fear it amounts to nothing more than a land grab that could saddle them with higher costs, more regulatory red tape and less freedom to run their farms and ranches. "This, in my career of farming, is the most scary and frightening proposition that I have witnessed," said Craig Hill, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation who farms 1,750 acres of corn and soybeans with his son in Milo. The proposed water regulation, better known as the "Waters of the U.S." rule, is the latest measure that's symbolic of the growing fissure dividing the EPA and agriculture producers. Farmers and ranchers have become more skeptical and less trusting of the environmental agency despite promises by the regulator that it is looking out for their best interests and willing to work with them when new rules and regulations are put in place...more

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