AFBF statement on Oberstar water bill

Created: 4/22/10 (Thu) | Topic: Issues

The following statement by Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, was issued today in regarding to Rep. James Oberstar's ‘America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act’ bill:
“The American Farm Bureau Federation does not support legislation that would change and expand federal control of our nation’s waters.  We are greatly concerned that ‘America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act,’ introduced yesterday by Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), would do precisely that. We urge all members of the House of Representatives to not support this bill.  This measure would change the Clean Water Act by extending federal control of all waters in the United States, not just real navigable waters, as Congress clearly intended when it passed the Clean Water Act in 1972.

“Farm Bureau has always supported the Clean Water Act as a vital tool for protecting our nation’s valuable water resources.  The bill unveiled yesterday, however, goes farther by removing the word ‘navigable’ from the Clean Water Act. If the word ‘navigable’ is deleted from the law, any farm pond or ditch would be at the mercy of federal regulations. This vague and overreaching amendment to the Clean Water Act is unacceptable to America’s farm and ranch families.

“Farm Bureau is also deeply concerned that the legislation will overturn the current treatment of prior converted cropland, a regulation that has been in place for nearly two decades.  This would effectively give federal control of the development rights of 53 million acres of private land. This extension of federal control over private property rights is dangerous and unprecedented. 

We urge members of Congress to support America’s farm and ranch families and reject ‘America’s Commitment to Clean Water Act.’”


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