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A proposed rule by the EPA has some farmers worried their property rights are in jeopardy. | News

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A proposed rule by the EPA has some farmers worried their property rights are in jeopardy.
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A proposed rule by the Environmental Protection Agency has some farmers worried their property rights are in jeopardy.

It's called the Definition of Waters of the United States Under the Clean Water Act.

Members of the Farm Bureau met today and talked about why they have a problem with the rule.

"We just don't think this is a great idea" said Robert Dickey, owner of Dickey Farms.

He says the proposed rule by the EPA is another step the government is taking to regulate private properties and businesses.

Right now, the EPA manages water quality issues in bodies of waters that are navigable... like lakes, bays and rivers. The EPA says the rule they've proposed specifies exactly what navigable waters are.

Dickey says the rule will consider his pond navigable, and therefore subject to regulation.

"We can't farm without water, irrigation is such a vital importance" said Dickey.

Dickey is not alone. Leaders of the farm bureau agree. They say they've been combating the rule in Washington.

"Navigable means navigable..You can run a boat up and down it or transport something up and down it. It didn't mean the ditch through my backyard or through my field where my cows are walking" said President of Georgia's Farm Bureau Zippy Duval.

He says if it passes, farmers may need permits to spray pesticides.. put out fertilizer, and even graze cattle.

But Director of Environmental Science at Mercer University Brian Rood says their interpretation is false.

"It's all just clerical changes and it in no way expands the reach of EPA to tell states or private landowners what it is they can do with the waters on their land" said Rood.

The EPA says the farmers have misunderstood. They say the rule will make normal farming practices easier while also ensuring that waters are clean for human health.


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