New maps released by Farm Bureau shows the federal government is massively increasing its authority at the cost of American producers. This news release from the group says the Environmental Protection Agency will radically expand its jurisdiction over land use if its controversial Waters of the United States rule takes effect as expected Aug. 28. That expansion comes even as major parts of the rule remain largely incomprehensible to experts and laypeople, alike.
The maps, prepared by Geosyntec Consulting, show the dramatic expansion of EPA’s regulatory reach, stretching across wide swaths of land in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Montana. In Pennsylvania, for example, 99 percent of the state’s total acreage is subject to EPA scrutiny. Landowners have no reliable way to know which of the water and land within that area will be regulated, yet they must still conform their activities to the new law.
“Farmers face enforcement action and severe penalties under EPA’s new rule for using the same safe, scientifically sound and federally approved crop protection tools they’ve used for years,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said. “This rule creates a new set of tools for harassing farmers in court, and does it all with language that is disturbingly vague and subject to abuse by future regulators. It’s worth saying again: The EPA needs to withdraw this rule and start over.”
Farm Bureau says the additions to the Clean Water Act will prohibit many common agricultural practices in or around many ephemeral features.