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Proposed changes to the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, if adopted, "will have huge negative impact on U.S. farmers' ability to produce the cheapest, safest, most abundant food supply in the world," says Arkansas Rep. Rick Crawford, who spoke at the annual conference of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation.
“The crux of the entire Waters of the U.S. debate," says Arkansas Rep. Rick Crawford, "is that if the EPA can, in their opinion, demonstrate subjectively that there is a significant nexus between a regulated waterway and water on your farm, then the water on your farm becomes regulated also.” —USDA photo
A “regulatory triad” composed of the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Corps of Engineers, and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service holds the potential for a lot of headaches for agriculture, says Republican Rep. Rick Crawford, who represents Arkansas’ first district.
At the heart of the problem, he said at the annual conference of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, are proposed changes to the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. “Both, if adopted, will have huge negative impact on your ability to produce the cheapest, safest, most abundant food supply in the world,” he said.
He says he is “advocating strongly” for a bill that “would, hopefully, restrain the Endangered Species Act and make it more workable.” While environmental activists work to hamper U.S. farmers, he says, “I contend that farmers are active environmentalists — you’re out there every day, implementing conservation and environmental practices as a part of your operations. You derive your income from the land — it’s in your best interest to be active environmentalists, to be conservationists.
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“When an environmental activist points to your farm and says you’re not doing this or that right, you have every reason and every right to bristle at the notion that somebody from the west coast or somewhere else can come onto your farm area and say, ‘We don’t think you’re a good enough conservationist and environmentalist — this is how it should be done, and we’re going to restrict the way you’ve always done it.’ I’ve got a problem with that.”