Our nation’s No. 1 polluter of water is agriculture, specifically, petro-chemical “Big Ag” farmers — but now large-scale farmers are worried that new EPA rules are going to make them clean up their act. Not surprisingly, Big Ag is fighting back with help from a cadre of industry-friendly politicians.
Minnesota environmentalists are worried that a small group of farm-state Senators have found a way to effectively “water down” new rules being formulated for the nation’s Clean Water Act by the EPA.
The result will be ongoing and unfettered pollution for years to come, environmentalists say.
Industry watchers say that North Dakota Senator John Hoeven will attempt to insert a “rider” or amendment that will significantly weaken the $34 billion Energy & Water spending bill for 2015. (Read about it HERE.) In effect, Hoeven’s maneuver would stop all rule making for Clean Water standards.
Legisilative observers say they expect the spending bill will be reported out of committee with the rider intact. This would essentially hamstring the EPA from creating strong pollution protection rules — which it wants to do by clarifying the “Waters of the US” within the Clean Water Act.
Hoeven and a small group of other farm-state Senators strongly oppose the bill because they say it will create a significant hardship for farmers.
A letter to the EPA signed by the Senators said the regulation are being proposed at a time, “when farmers and ranchers face the challenges of managing weather risks, responding to market demands, and adjusting to changes from the recently passed farm bill.” Source
But the fact remains that big agriculture is making our waterways sick. According to the EPA website:
“… agricultural nonpoint source (NPS) pollution was the leading source of water quality impacts on surveyed rivers and lakes, the second largest source of impairments to wetlands, and a major contributor to contamination of surveyed estuaries and ground water.
Agricultural activities that cause NPS pollution include poorly located or managed animal feeding operations; overgrazing; plowing too often or at the wrong time; and improper, excessive or poorly timed application of pesticides, irrigation water and fertilizer.” Source
Minnesota organizations, such as Environment Minnesota, are urging citizens to send a message to U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and tell them that “the Senate should not be using riders on spending bills to make environmental policy.”
Environment Minnesota has prepared a pre-written letter which concerned citizens can copy, sign and send as an email to the offices of Klobuchar and Franken. The letter can be found here: Write Your Senator