The Pryor Times

Agriculture

August 30, 2012

FB fights regulation

A buffalo wallow in the middle of a Garfield County pasture was the star attraction of an Aug. 23 event focused on stopping the flood of federal regulations. The buffalo wallow could fall under the EPA’s regulatory umbrella as that agency is attempting to redefine navigable waterways under the Clean Water Act.

“Those of us in the High Plains recognize this as a buffalo wallow, and not a navigable waterway,” said Mike Spradling, Oklahoma Farm Bureau president.  “This boils down to the fact the EPA wants to control all of the water. This control would include imposing restrictions on how this land could be used, meaning the farmer would not be allowed to use best management practices.  He could be prevented from using herbicides to control weeds or fertilizer to boost forage production. This type of unnecessary and burdensome federal regulations is a serious threat to our private property rights.”

U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), minority ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, joined Spradling during the event and called for a stop to the federal government’s regulatory march.

“The over regulators are destroying this country,” Inhofe said. “This is not just agriculture. Manufacturers and energy producers are all having the same (regulatory) problems.”

Inhofe praised farmers for standing up to the federal regulators.

“Farm Bureau is our best ally in these types of issues,” Inhofe said.

The CWA gives the EPA authority to write rules governing the protection of navigable waters. The EPA wants to redefine the word navigable in an effort to regulate even a roadside ditch that could hold water for only a few hours.

The EPA wants to make this proposal to the guidance document. A guidance document is a non-legally binding interpretation written by an agency to explain how it interprets existing regulations, court decisions and federal statutes. However, a guidance document may not exceed or conflict with the original law as passed by Congress and existing regulations promulgated under the Administrative Procedures Act.

This proposal would allow the EPA to regulate the following:

• groundwater

• ditches

• culverts

• pipes

• desert washes

• farm and stock ponds

The event was part of the American Farm Bureau’s national “Stop the Flood of Regulations” campaign in progress across the country where similar events are being held this summer.

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