The American Farm Bureau Federation recently submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency on the agency’s plan to write a new Waters of the U.S rule. AFBF, along with 21 other agricultural organizations, recommended the Biden administration withdraw the proposed rule, citing jurisdictional issues and lack of stakeholder engagement.
“Farmers and ranchers rely on clean water to grow the food America’s families rely on, so we work hard to protect the resources we’re entrusted with,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “We need rules that are clear and can be interpreted by farmers without spending thousands of dollars on legal fees. We had that with the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. The proposed new rule threatens to take us back to vague and complicated regulations that will keep farmers from growing the nation’s food while protecting the environment.”
AFBF’s comments express disappointment by the lack of meaningful outreach by EPA and an extremely abbreviated comment period.
“We believed that the Agencies would conduct these proceedings in good faith and with full consideration of all stakeholder views, but we are now concerned that the Agencies do not intend to provide the open and dialogue-driven process promised,” AFBF said in their comments.
Concerns with the new proposed rule include:
- It will profoundly affect everyday farming and ranching activities through increased permitting requirements;
- Unclear rules could lead to potentially unlimited jurisdiction, including the unconstitutionally vague significant nexus test;
- The expansion of federal jurisdiction exceeds limitations set by Congress;
- The proposed rule exceeds the scope of the federal government’s authority.
Read the full comments here.