Farmers fuming over new EPA water plan

Farmers fuming over new EPA water plan

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens is leading the fight against a new Environmental Protection Agency rule about to go into effect.    The Obama administration said it will protect our water supply.

Matt Coley's family has been farming in Dooly County for decades.  He doesn't like a new rule that allows the federal government to regulate any body of water that is within three-quarters of a mile of a navigable waterway.

"Three quarters of a mile is a pretty long way," said Coley. Coley says the rule set to go into effect in a couple of months would give the EPA an unprecedented amount of control over farmers like him.

"Clean water act has been in effect since the 70s and farming has always had some   sort of an exemption from a lot of the requirements.

Critics said under these regulations even a wet weather ditch like this one I'm standing above could be under the EPA's jurisdiction.

"It's not that we don't want to protect our waters," continued Coley. "It's really that the EPA moved forward in a quick pace  with this process and a lot of people feel like they didn't take the time to get input from affective parties."

In layman's terms how could this affect a farmer on the day-to-day? "Say somebody has a vegetable field that has an outbreak of some sort of pest.

They may need to spray it but they have to wait to get a permit approved from Washington. They may end up losing that whole vegetable crop before they get their approval."

Groups including the Georgia Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau opposed the change from the beginning.  Now, Georgia's Attorney General hopes to keep it from being implemented. 

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