Yesterday, the New York State Agribusiness sent out an alert that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is up to his old tricks. Previously on this web site, we warned that a lame duck attempt might be made to pass the Senator Ben Cardin's Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act.
That's exactly what's happening. On Friday, Reid introduced an omnibus public lands and water bill, the America Great Outdoors Act (S. 303), in the Senate. It includes Cardin's bill, giving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unprecedented authority under the Clean Water Act to directly regulate individual farm activities. The bill could be brought before the full U.S. Senate for a vote at any time in the next few days.
Clean water is a priority for all Mid-Atlantic farmers and state agencies. But, EPA doesn't adequately recognize farmers' environmental stewardship or the cost prohibitive nature of some proposed mandatory practices that could also be achieved using less expensive means and greater efficiencies, note NYS Agribusiness officials.
EPA has also been challenged by many state and national groups for it's faulty modeling projections, and the passed-down cost of what it recommends.
NYS Agribusiness Association urges people concerned about this legislation to contact both their U.S. Senators and give their U.S. House representatives a heads up.