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Farm Organization Criticizes Potential EPA Rules Changes

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has proposed changing how they deal with navigable waters across the country under the Clean Water Act.  But the New York Farm Bureau is raising red flags saying the agency is attempting to expand their authority without appropriate public input.

The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are seeking to change their guidance documents that determine their authority regarding navigable waters under the Clean Water Act.  The agencies want to remove the word navigable, and are seeking to make the change thru a budget process that averts any public input and comment.  In a conference call, New York Farm Bureau Spokesman Steve Ammerman says the EPA move would overstep their regulatory bounds in regulating how New York farmers use their land.

New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton says if the new rules are imposed the implications would be very serious for farms and taxpayers.

The New York State Association of Counties is working with the Farm Bureau to illustrate problems with the EPA’s proposed guidance change.  Deputy Director Mark Lavigne says their national association is also working to stem the changes.

Farm Bureau President Dean Norton says the EPA is  circumventing Congressional, regulatory and public hearing processes.

An EPA public relations representative was unable to return calls in time for this broadcast.