BOZEMAN–The Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) continues to urge its members to oppose the Clean Water Restoration Act, S. 787, and thanks Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer for expressing his concerns about the bill in a recent edition of Inside EPA, as well.
“Since S.B. 787 was introduced in the Senate, the American Farm Bureau, along with the Montana Farm Bureau, continue to stress the detrimental affect this bill could have on agriculture,” notes MFBF President Bob Hanson. “This bill would take the word “navigable” out of the Clean Water Act and potentially make every prairie pothole, puddle, irrigation ditch and storm water retention basin under the jurisdiction of the government. We were very pleased Governor Schweitzer has acknowledged that Montana’s farmers and ranchers know a lot more about caring for their water supply than the federal government does.”
Hanson points out that removal of the world “navigable” from the Clean Water Act would allow the Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency to regulate all interstate and intrastate waters and “activities that affect these waters” could move the Clean Water Act onto dry ground and put farmers in a real bind.
“Most agricultural and forestry endeavors are near some sort of ephemeral or intermittent stream, an isolated ditch or natural erosion area, which, if this bill passes, would be regulated under the Clean Water Act,” Hanson says. “I think it’s very clear that when the Clean Water Act passed in 1972, Congress intended to pass with the word “navigable.” To delete that word would fundamentally expand the scope of areas subject to federal regulation. The cost of compliance would be staggering.”