December 11, 2014

December 11, 2014

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Have you heard about “WOTUS”? In farm country, it is, or certainly should be, a big deal – a major concern. WOTUS stands for “Waters of the U.S.” EPA is pushing a new rule to dramatically expand their authority to regulate. Is this any surprise? They want to regulate everything. Farm organizations in unison are calling “time out.”

The EPA rule was put out for comments last spring. Half a million comments have been submitted on the rule. Farm groups are all over this EPA overreach. Here is what it does. It expands the EPA clean water jurisdiction. They are not talking just about navigable waters. This rule gives EPA the authority to regulate your ditches, your low spots.

Here is what the National Corn Growers Association has to say about the rule. “The proposal would take jurisdiction of more than 5 million miles of remote waters and drainage features in farm country.” A study commissioned by the American Farm Bureau estimates the EPA plan would cost consumers and businesses as much as 41 billion dollars per year.

Do you want to straighten a crooked creek so farming would be more efficient – more productive? Get a permit. Do you want to tile a wet field to get a better yield? Get a permit. We’re talking about private property – not government property. On September 9, the Republican-led House voted to stop EPA from moving ahead with the rule. The Senate has not voted on the issue. I don’t expect anything to be done in this “lame duck” session of Congress. Next year, with Harry Reid out as Senate leader, there is a chance we can put the brakes on EPA’s insatiable appetite to regulate.

Agriculture can be credited with a powerful pushback against the rule. However, the rule has supporters, including the National Resources Defense Council. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said that EPA is not interested in making farming more difficult. The fact is, EPA has lost all trust in farm country. They need to be stopped. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go online to www.johnblockreports.com. Have a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block in Washington, D.C.