The Oklahoma Farm Bureau expresses concern about a proposed EPA rule some fear would impose regulations on routine farm work.
It’s unclear whether the rule proposed in March would require farmers to get environmental assessments for tilling, spraying pesticides and other tasks near streams that only occasionally carry water. Farm bureau president Tom Buchanan said if that’s the case, EPA regulations extend to rainwater running off a house into a storm drain.
"That's wrong. We cannot allow that. That is an enormous land grab by the federal government," Buchanan said. "We believe in Oklahoma Farm Bureau that the states can take care of the quality of water, the quantities of water and that should be a state's right."
The EPA has said the rule clarifies its authority under the Clean Water Act and preserves agricultural exemptions.
Congressman Markwayne Mullin said the rule creates uncertainty for multigeneration family farms like his.
"My dad lives there. I live there. My kids are hopefully going to live there," Mullin said. "But the permits, if they're held by the first generation, are they going to be able to be exempt like the other ones?"
Mullin was in town for an event promoting the agricultural industry’s use of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.