Two Threats to Agriculture Moving in Congress

Two Threats to Agriculture Moving in Congress

Oklahoma senator expects trouble for both.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved Senate Bill 787, the Clean Water Restoration Act. The measure would expand the federal jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act by removing the word navigable from the definition of waters of the United States. The proposed change would give the federal government control over private lakes and even ditches.


Ranking Member of the Senate Environment Committee Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., says farmers could be hurt worst by this legislation.


"I can remember very well a few years ago when a friend of mine had standing water after a storm in one-forth of one acre," Inhofe said. "Because of that, they declared a wetland and took away the use of that farmer's 160 acres; that's how serious this thing is." 


Inhofe says this measure will have a harder time on the Senate floor than it did in committee because of several coalitions that have been put together to block it and he thinks they will be successful.


As for the Waxman-Markey climate change bill that is of great concern to agriculture Inhofe noted thatt several people including House Ag Chair Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Ranking Member Frank Lucas, R-Okla., are working to protect ag interests. Even so Inhofe say he believes Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will get the votes she needs to advance the bill out of the House.


"I can assure you that they will not have the votes in the Senate," Inhofe said. "Right now they only have 34 votes and they have to have 60 votes in the Senate to make it happen."


Pelosi earlier this month placed a deadline on committee action on the climate change legislation. That deadline is Friday.

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