Local farmers see win in stopping new water regulations

CHENANGO COUNTY – Proposed environmental legislation that may restrict the way farmers do business was shot down in the U.S. House of Representatives last week, giving local ag businesses reason to be optimistic that the bill may never come to pass.

The House last week voted 262-152 to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers from expanding federal regulations that some legislators say would have a negative impact on upstate New York businesses, including farms, homebuilders and contractors.

The bill, titled the Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, has gained traction in Congress since being introduced by a Florida Representative Steve Southerland in July.

Both the EPA and the Army Corps are proposing to broaden the definition of “navigable waters” which is outlined in the Clean Water Act. According to opponents, the proposal would expand the on the federal power of the Clean Water Act, giving jurisdiction to nearly every body of water that can be connected to the Chesapeake Bay. This would include ditches, natural or man-made ponds, flood plains, and prairie potholes.

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