A large and influential Michigan farmers’ organization is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Michigan Farm Bureau, which represents nearly 50,000 farmers across the state, says the EPA’s recent Waters of the U.S. rule is a federal power grab. It claims the rule unconstitutionally grants the EPA control over the authority of state-level agencies to monitor water in wetlands, streams and ditches.
A key component of the rule is to allow authorities to keep a closer eye on smaller, more local water features that connect to, and possibly threaten, larger ones that are already covered by the U.S. Clean Water Act.
The EPA has said that numerous exemptions for agriculture will not change under the rule and that it clarifies parts of the Clean Water Act.
It’s not the first legal action involving the rule. A recent decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati temporarily blocked the regulation from taking effect, but did not decide the legality of the new rules.
Current State talks with Laura Campbell, the manager of the Farm Bureau’s Agricultural Ecology Department.