Monday, July 14, 2014

Schmidt pledges opposition to expanded regulation of farm and ranch waterways

TOPEKA, KAN. – Kansas will object to proposed new federal water regulations that could significantly extend the regulatory reach of the federal government onto Kansas farms and ranches, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.

Schmidt said he is working with several agencies in state government to ensure that comments are submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pointing out problems with the proposed new definition of “waters of the United States.”

The EPA, along with the Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Defense, proposed the new regulatory definition in April, and many Kansans are concerned that the broader definition will result in further regulation of small waterways, ditches and ponds on Kansas farms and ranches.

“We are taking strong steps to inform the federal government of the ill-advised nature of these new regulations,” Schmidt said. “I’m hopeful the many comments from states, farmers and ranchers, and other affected businesses and organizations will cause the federal government to withdraw this new proposal and reconsider its actions. We don’t need a federal regulator in every acre of every field and pasture.”

Last week, the Kansas Agricultural Alliance, an umbrella organization of several farm and ranch organizations in the state, sent a letter to Schmidt and to Gov. Sam Brownback asking them to oppose the new proposed regulations. In a response sent today, Schmidt pledged his opposition.

“I am strongly opposed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to extend its regulatory reach to virtually every aspect of property ownership and agricultural production through its attempt to redefine ‘Waters of the U.S.’ that are subject to federal regulation,” Schmidt wrote. “This federal power grab is unnecessary, unwise and, in my view, unsupported by the statute Congress enacted. It needs to be stopped.”

The period for public comments to be submitted on the proposed new definition of “waters of the United States” has been extended until October 20, 2014. Comments must be identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880 and submitted by one of the following methods:
  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Email: Include EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880 in the subject line of the message.
  • Mail: Send the original and three copies of your comments to: Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460, Attention: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880.