Republican Reps. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, Sam Graves of Missouri and Doc Hastings of Washington, the co-chairs of the Rural American Solutions Group, wrote to the chairs of four House committees on Tuesday seeking hearings on America’s Commitment to the Clean Water Act.
This bill greatly expands the scope of the Clean Water Act by removing the word “navigable” from its current definition. As a result, every body of water—from farmers’ irrigation canals, to streams, small ponds and backyard mud puddles—could suddenly be subjected to sweeping new federal regulations and permitting. This vast expansion of government authority would threaten jobs, increase costs for farmers and small businesses, and impact local water storage and delivery systems.
“Although the bill has been referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, this far-reaching legislation would have a great impact on western irrigation projects, farming and ranching operations, mining and small businesses that are within the jurisdiction of the committees of which you are chairs and we ranking members,” the letter said in part. “At a time when creating and protecting jobs should be our top priority, we need to gain a full understanding of the effects that this bill will have on the economies of rural communities and the nation as a whole.”
AFBF is strongly opposed to the bill.
“This vague and overreaching amendment to the Clean Water Act is unacceptable to America’s farm and ranch families,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said when the bill was introduced in April.