Potential changes in the regulations of the Clean Water Act and a huge expansion of the powers of the Environmental Protection Administration have serious implications for agriculture, American Farm Bureau specialist Don Parrish said Monday.
Parrish addressed members of the Kansas Farm Bureau attending this week's County Presidents Trip to Washington, D.C.
He said legislation that would strike the word "navigable" from the Clean Water Act, making all water, even stock ponds, fall under regulatory guidelines.
Even more troublesome, he said, is a broad expansion of EAP powers under the Clean Water Act in response to pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.
That legislation would define grass waterways, ditches and conduits as "tributaries" of surface streams and make them subject to the permitting process.
Worse yet, agricultural use is not in any of the four broad permitting categories, meaning each farmer would have to seek an individual permit, a process far more expensive, onerous and slow.
"It would require the filing of a notice of intent to spray that would require you to justify the need for a chemical and what quantity is needed," he said.
Farm use of chemicals would be eligible for court review if challenged, he said.
"This is headed for a train wreck of nothing but endless litigation," he said. "Filing lawsuits is something the enemies of agriculture excel at."