Proposing New Permits. I'm Greg Martin with today's Line On Agriculture.
The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a new Clean Water Act permit for pesticide use near waterways. American Farm Bureau Regulatory Specialist Tyler Wegmeyer says the way the draft is written leaves the door open for regulation of any pesticide use near waterways and his organization fears that will lead to problems for farmers and ranchers. Those problems could take the form of buying expensive permits, just in case, or face potential lawsuits from environmental groups.
WEGMEYER: It's going to cost a lot of money. It's going to add to the cost of production and already farmers are struggling around the country to make a profit and this is going to hurt them and put some of them out of business.
Wegmeyer says the worst part is that the new regulations aren't necessary.
WEGMEYER: Is it going to make the environment safer and protect human health better? No, it's not going to. I mean, laws are already on the books that do a good job of protecting the environment and human health and farmers abide by it and it's working.
Wegmeyer he talks about the impact of a new proposed permit on farmers and ranchers.
WEGMEYER: It's going to create more government bureaucracy, more paperwork or burdensome requirements on the farmers that in a lot of instances will be the same as what they're already doing. What this does is add a whole other liability component to it whether they get a permit or whether they don't get a permit. Environmentalists are going to be really looking at a farmer's activity very closely. With this permit, it's going to put a target on their back.
He believes some environmental groups are waiting for an opportunity to sue over the new permits in order to get even stronger regulations.
WEGMEYER: Farmers are going to be faced with a deciding whether they want to be covered under a permit to protect themselves against citizen suits. Farmers do not have money put aside to fight court battles. I mean, they have money set aside to try to put their children through college. They don't plan to be fighting environmental groups in court for things that they're doing that are safe and are legal and following the current regulations that are now in place.
That's today's Line On Agriculture. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.