Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will testify today before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry during a hearing on a proposed rule change by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA wants to amend the definition of “waters in the United States” under the federal Clean Water Act. The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in April 2014 proposed the amendment, which aims to clarify the EPA's regulatory jurisdiction under the law.
Rutledge said that about $20.1 billion was added to the Arkansas economy from agriculture in 2012, and that farmers face daily challenges to feed consumers at home and around the world.
“While the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have repeatedly offered assurances that agriculture stakeholders need not worry about the scope of the proposed definition of ‘waters of the United States, the agriculture community in Arkansas is worried that everyday tasks such as plowing and the appropriate application of pesticides and fertilizer will subject them to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act,” Rutledge said. “Any farmer or rancher who has flowing water, regardless of size, through their land would be covered under the proposed rule and thus in potential violation of law.”