On April 21, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a proposal in the Federal Register that would greatly expand the authority of the federal government to regulate water and wet areas on private property.
The Columbia County Farm Bureau believes this proposed rule goes too far. This rule affects everyone who owns property, not just farmers. We urge all property owners to submit comments to EPA telling them to back off and withdraw the proposed rule.
Georgia Farm Bureau has a Web page www.gfb.org/ditchtherule dedicated to opposing this federal overreach. Additional information can be found at this site along with a sample set of comments interested persons can use to express opposition to the rule. Comments can be added to address specific concerns of the sender.
If the rule is finalized, EPA and the Corps will regulate virtually every area of ground that gets wet in the country, including those areas that only have water flow during heavy rains. The change would expand regulatory authority to many land features, including ditches and ponds, giving the agencies the power to regulate land use. This rule is an effort to go around the will of Congress and to thwart U.S. Supreme Court case decisions on the issue.
These federal agencies have no accountability to the citizens they seek to regulate. Please take a few minutes to tell EPA to “Ditch the Rule.” Visit the aforementioned Web page and submit comments urging EPA to withdraw the rule. The comment deadline is Oct. 20. Your comments do matter. The original comment deadline of July 21 was extended after the agencies received numerous requests for an extension.
Pete Allen, Columbia County Farm Bureau president