Legislation that would remove the word “navigable” from the Clean Water Act and allow the Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency to regulate all interstate and intrastate waters could put farmers in “regulatory quicksand,” according to Missouri Farm Bureau President Charlie Kruse.

Testifying yesterday on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation before the House Small Business Committee, Kruse, a Dexter, Mo. corn producer, said the bill leads to increased compliance costs, burdensome permit processes and extends the reach of the Clean Water Act to any body of water in the United States.

Kruse cited a number of cases that point out the hurdles farmers across the country will face if the Clean Water Restoration Act (S. 787) is approved. In one example, Kruse told the account of a small farmer in Minnesota who wanted to improve existing drainage on 11 acres of his land.

“USDA and the state did not consider his land a wetland, but the Corps did,” Kruse testified. “They told him he needed both a permit and 17.7 acres of mitigation. The cost of compliance — $77,000 — was more than the property was worth, and the farmer could not afford to comply.”

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Source: American Farm Bureau Federation