Fresno Congressman says farmers are too regulated
July 1, 2013
• Costa sponsors bill to cut some regulations
• “They have overreached in an effort to expand their regulatory footprint “
Routine agricultural activities such as building farm ponds, irrigation ditches, and farm roads would be pried out of the regulatory grasp of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency if a bill authored by a Fresno congressmen ever makes it into law.
Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno and Rep. Robert Hurt, E-Va., are proposing the legislation to stop efforts by the two federal bureaucracies that they say are forcing farmers to go through a burdensome and costly permitting process in order to complete routine projects on their land.
“The EPA’s permitting process was never intended for routine agriculture activities and they have overreached in an effort to expand their regulatory footprint,” says Mr. Costa. “These barriers make it cost and time prohibitive for farmers to take necessary actions within their own business.”
Mr. Costa says the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have asserted that their authority to regulate agricultural activities is based in the Clean Water Act. However, Congress made a decision in 1977 to amend the Clean Water Act to exempt normal activities necessary to prepare and maintain land for agricultural production from obtaining Clean Water Act permits, he says.