GOP rep: ‘Dangerous’ EPA rule could increase food costs

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) said Monday that a proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule would wreak havoc on farmers and possibly drive up food prices.

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The EPA has the authority to issue rules for bodies of water on farms to ensure runoff is safe and not damaging to the environment, but Republicans argue the EPA has been too heavy-handed and could end up regulating a drainage ditch instead of just streams and rivers.

“My hope is that the EPA will do the right thing and withdraw the rule on its own,” Hartzler said. “It is a potentially dangerous rule that could lead to infringements on farming and increase the cost of food. This policy is wrong for Missouri and wrong for America.”

Hartzler has called for legislation that would ban the EPA from issuing rules through the EPA’s Waters of the United States program. 

EPA Press Secretary Liz Purchia said the EPA proposal strikes the right balance between protecting clean water as well as farmers and ranchers.

"It’s unfortunate that misinformation and rumors continue to be circulated about a proposal by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to strengthen protection for the clean water that is vital to our health, communities and economy," Purchia said. "EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers are not interested in a final rule that will make farming more difficult in any way."

The EPA's proposed rule preserves permitting exemptions and exclusions for agriculture purposes including for planting, plowing and harvesting. 

— This article was updated at 3:20 p.m.