Business Groups Join Forces with Farmers Pushing Back at EPA


Business groups have joined forces with farmers, in a coalition pushing back at what they see as the overreach of the EPA.

Home builders, bankers, and golf courses have joined with Nebraska Farm Bureau, Cattlemen, and other ag groups in the "Common Sense Nebraska" coalition. They're concerned about the Waters of the U.S. rule.

Those in the coalition say it would expand the reach of the EPA to regulate ditches, puddles, and ponds.

Rep. Adrian Smith told NTV, "I think local government is much more appropriate to regulate irrigation ditches than the EPA. The EPA is out of touch. They have this promotion or agenda Climate Justice. I think it invites bad policy, certainly way too much power within the federal government."

Meanwhile, the EPA says it's a myth that this would add new regulations on farms.

The agency says it would preserve exemptions for agriculture.

But Farm Bureau says that's not what the fine print says about the Clean Water Act.

"This rule would be extremely harmful to Nebraska's farm and ranch families forcing many to obtain CWA permits for the most basic farming and ranching practices. It also has ramifications for virtually anyone who puts a spade in the ground to turn the soil. We knew others would be affected and we're pleased to have so many other groups who represent Nebraskans be a part of this effort," said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation president.

Farm Bureau announced the expansion of this coalition Thursday. New members include: AKSARBEN Club Managers Association, Association of General Contractors - NE Chapter, Golf Course Builders Association, Nebraska Association of County Officials, Nebraska Association of Resource Districts, Nebraska Bankers Association, Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Golf Course Superintendents Association, Nebraska Grain Sorghum Producers Association, Nebraska Rural Electric Association, Nebraska State Home Builders Association, and Nebraska Water Resources Association.

Founding members of the coalition include Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Nebraska Poultry Industries, Nebraska Soybean Association and the Nebraska State Dairy Association.

EPA is currently accepting public comments on the proposed rule through Oct. 20.