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Agricultural News

Oklahoma Farm Bureau Comes Out Strongly Opposed to WOTUS- As Does AFBF's YF&R

Wed, 12 Nov 2014 22:39:16 CST

Oklahoma Farm Bureau Comes Out Strongly Opposed to WOTUS-  As Does AFBF's YF&R Oklahoma Farm Bureau submitted comments today in response to the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed rule to define "waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act.

The rule proposed by the EPA and Corps will affect a large number of OKFB members, said OKFB President Tom Buchanan.

"Oklahoma Farm Bureau's members engage in activities on land and water that often require a jurisdictional determination from the Corps before proceeding," said Buchanan. "Any change in CWA regulations that would change the scope of federal jurisdiction will have a substantial effect on our members' ability to finance and develop new projects or perform maintenance to maintain existing infrastructure and facilities." Buchanan talked briefly with OFB's Sam Knipp after a public meeting that Farm Bureau participated in with Congressman Mark Wayne Mullin this past week in McAlester. You can hear his comments by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.

Together, the EPA and the Corps are soliciting comments on a proposed rule that redefines "waters of the United States" under all CWA programs. According to OKFB, the proposed regulation unnecessarily broadens the scope of CWA jurisdiction beyond constitutional and statutory limits established by Congress and recognized by the Supreme Court.  

The EPA proposes to expand CWA jurisdiction far beyond traditional navigable waters to land features that sometimes convey water, like ditches. Any change in CWA regulations that would change the scope of federal jurisdiction will have a substantial effect on our members' ability to farm and ranch.

OKFB is a general farm organization with about 100,000 member families and is the voice of agriculture in Oklahoma. OKFB represents farmers and ranchers with operations of all sizes and who raise a wide variety of crops and livestock.


Meanwhile, the American Farm Bureau's Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee have also submitted their comments on "WOTUS" and no surprise- they are strongly against the proposed rule from the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee outlined its key concerns regarding the Waters of the U.S. rule in formal comments submitted to the EPA.

"EPA keeps grasping for control over our farms and ranches," AFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee Chair Jake Carter said. "Young farmers and ranchers are the future of American agriculture, and we take our role of protecting the land seriously. This proposal puts serious roadblocks in our way without any material improvements in water quality."

Young farmers and ranchers are especially vulnerable to increased costs in farming. Since the already narrow "normal farming and ranching" exemption in the Clean Water Act excludes farms and ranches that started operating after 1977, farmers and ranchers with newer businesses will need permits for basic farming activities, including simply moving dirt.

Under this proposed rule, the only thing that is clear and certain is that it will be more difficult to farm and ranch, or to make any changes on the land even if those changes would benefit the environment, the AFBF committee said.



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