Farmers worry about new EPA rule - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Farmers worry about new EPA rule

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

 

Senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson Monday signed onto a bill to block the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing a rule the senators say would have a devastating impact on Georgia farmers.

The EPA wants to clarify language in the Clean Water Act, but critics say the change would give the federal government authority over drainage ditches and holding ponds, giving it the ability to regulate virtually all private and state water in the country.

The Executive Director of the Georgia Water Policy and Planning Center in Albany attended a forum on the controversial rule last week. Doug Wilson says it's got a lot of people nervous. "No one I think is willing, or very few people probably are willing to wait and see what it means. Once it's a rule, once it's in law then it's a lot more difficult to change," Wilson said. 

Critics say the language of the proposed new rule could require farmers to do an environmental study and get a permit every time they want to dig a small canal from a pond to a field on their own property or could even force local governments to go through the federal government to clean out ditches.

 

EPA officials say that's not the intent of the rule.

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