11.04.15

VIDEO: Georgia Farmers & Agriculture Leaders Urge Congress to Overturn Controversial Water Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) today released a video highlighting Georgians’ opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s harmful “Waters of the United States” regulation, which would expose Georgia farmers, ranchers, businesses, and landowners to significant compliance costs and unnecessary government intrusion. This week, the Senators voted to disapprove and overturn this burdensome regulation, sending it back to President Obama’s desk for reconsideration. 

The video features: Gary Black, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner; Zippy Duvall, President, Georgia Farm Bureau; Charlotte Nash, Chairman of Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners; Bryan Tolar, President, Georgia Agribusiness Council; Joe Hopkins, Past President, Forest Landowners Association; and Jake Carter, Past Chairman, American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers. 

Transcript:

Zippy Duvall, President, Georgia Farm Bureau: “The EPA has gone too far this time and we need Congress’ help to overturn the Waters of the U.S. rule called WOTUS.” 

Joe Hopkins, Past President, The Forest Landowners Association: “Unprovoked however, for no reason, the EPA has decided that they need more control over our land and have done so by implementing the Waters of the U.S. rule with no clear objective. The outcome is not cleaner water but more and bigger government control.”

Bryan Tolar, President, Georgia Agribusiness Council: “Agriculture is the largest industry in our state. We work on environmental stewardship practices every day. The changes made to the Clean Water Act by the EPA, it’s just a land grab, creating more rules for lawyers to interpret. We need some level of certainty in the regulatory environment for agriculture.”

Gary Black, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner: “The last thing that [farmers] need is another mandate, another long reach of the federal arm of government down on their land to try to control every drop of water that falls on their property. That’s why I’m so adamantly opposed to and deeply concerned about this outreach of the federal government.”

Jake Carter, Past Chairman, American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers: “Not only is the WOTUS rule just a simply ridiculous rule that would affect us here on our farm with the crops that we grow, whether it be strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, or peaches. It would tremendously effect the agritourism operation.”

Zippy Duvall: “This rule erodes our private property rights for our farmers and ranchers across this country. It regulates ditches and low-lying areas that don’t even come close to the definition of navigable waters.”

Charlotte Nash, Chairman of Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners: “If the proposed definition is adopted, over 2,700 miles of roads and almost 700 miles of right away ditches in Gwinnett would be impacted. Add to that, almost 1,500 miles of streams and another 1,500 miles of drainage ditches. You can see how much of an impact that would have on just one Georgia county.”

Bryan Tolar: “Let’s let the industry be involved. Let the farmers have a say in the process and then come up with rules that always protect the environment but also allow private property rights to be first and foremost for our state and for our country.” 

Gary Black: “I’m delighted with the court decision to freeze it, to stay it. We’ve got to all work to make sure this is the beginning of the end of the WOTUS rule.” 

Zippy Duvall: “Everyday practices on our farm will be regulated by the federal government and EPA if this rule comes into effect. We need Congress to act now and help us stop the WOTUS rule.”