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Smith Report 11.13.2014

Take Action to Fight EPA Overreach
For months I’ve been telling you about how detrimental the new Waters of the United States Environmental Protection Agency regulation would be to our way of life, and now there’s something we can do to stop it. The federal government is accepting comments on this new proposed rule through Friday, Nov. 14. As your congressman, I am submitting comments to explain just how damaging this federal overreach would be to our area, and I encourage you to submit comments as well.
This new rule would expand the Clean Water Act and attempt to regulate every body of water in the United States. This would mean any area of ground that gets wet or has water flow during rainfall would fall under the EPA’s purview. The rule could be viewed in a way that would expand the EPA’s reach to cover all ponds, puddles, temporary or small wetlands, irrigation ditches or similar collections of water. While the proposed rule would impact every American, it would have a particularly devastating impact on rural communities.
Here in south-central and southeast Missouri agriculture is a driving force of our economy, with our farmers and ranchers raising nearly every kind of livestock and growing almost every major crop. This new rule could force livestock farmers to put a buffer zone between their animals and any body of water. It could force all landowners to get new permits for collections of water on private lands. Applying the federal permitting processes to every pond, gully, dry creek bed, irrigation ditch, puddle, or other similar collection of water would be a huge increase in our regulatory burden.
Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul said in a letter to the EPA administrator and Secretary of the Army last month, “The proposed rule would provide EPA and the Corps (as well as litigious environmental groups) with the power to dictate the land use decisions of homeowners, small businesses, and local communities throughout the United States.” We cannot allow yet another Obama Administration power grab to go unchallenged.
The EPA claims there are exemptions in the rules for agriculture, but these exemptions are not well-defined, leaving many to believe that they may not be exemptions at all. I have many questions about these so-called exemptions and how they would apply – but when the Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the rule, the federal agencies did not show up. To call these issues important to our area would be an understatement, and if the Administration could not be bothered to explain the rule in a congressional hearing, I don’t believe we can trust them to work with landowners if the rule is implemented.
Join me in submitting comments to the EPA and telling them exactly how terrible this shortsighted regulation would be for the people of south-central and southeast Missouri. Comments can be submitted to the EPA website at  through Friday, Nov. 14.