9/15/2016 12:00:00 AM
Chairman Conaway delivers One-Minute on negative impacts of EPA’s WOTUS rule
Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-TX) delivered remarks on
the House floor to draw attention to the negative impacts of Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers’ overburdensome regulations are having
on farmers, ranchers, and rural America. Watch the video and view the official
Remarks as prepared for
"Farmers, ranchers and foresters take great pride in their stewardship of
the land. They are the original conservationists. And while it may be popular
among some to blame farmers and ranchers for any and every environmental
concern that crops up, I know that nobody cares more for the environment than
those who work the land every day. When a farm family’s livelihood depends on
caring for natural resources, there is an undeniable economic incentive to
adopt practices that enhance the land’s long-term viability.
the Obama Administration has pursued an agenda seemingly absent of any
recognition of the consequences for rural America and production agriculture.
Obama’s EPA is creating regulations that are burdensome, overreaching, and
negatively affecting jobs and the rural economy.
the most poignant example is the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ recent power
grab with the “Waters of the United States” rule. Or, as EPA likes to call it –
The Clean Water Rule. I’ll be frank – this rule is not about clean water.
Everyone wants and deserves clean water. This rule simply embodies EPA’s
insatiable appetite for power. When EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified
before the House Committee on Agriculture in February, Members of the Committee
brought forth many concerns with the “wotus” rule. Numerous times,
Administrator McCarthy brushed off their concerns with statements that were
intended to assure us that farmers would have the same longstanding farming
exemptions that were originally included in the Clean Water Act.
verbal assurances give little comfort to farmers and ranchers who will face
steep civil fines for any violation. While the EPA Administrator was telling
the farming community they have nothing to fear with the new “wotus” rule, a
California farmer was being prosecuted by the Justice Department for simply
plowing his field.
lawsuit brought against this producer claims that by plowing a field, which
every farmer I know considers a normal farming practice, this farmer has
created “mini mountain ranges” in his field. These mountain ranges are
furrows from normal farming. The suit also claims this producer discharge
a pollutant into a waters of the U.S. This so-called “pollutant” was the
soil he was plowing.
perceived violations only came to attention when an overzealous Corps
bureaucrat “just happened to be driving by the property” and discovered
perceived “wotus” violations on the land.
of the degree to which some deem government regulation justifiable, all
regulations must be developed in a manner that is based on science and mindful
of the economic consequences. This rule clearly was not. Farmers, ranchers and
foresters believe the EPA is attacking them, and it is easy to understand why.