WASHINGTON, July 9, 2014 -- Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst said EPA chief Gina McCarthy has “poisoned the well” as far as her visit to the state on Thursday is concerned by calling opponents of the agency’s proposed “Waters of the U.S." rule “silly” and “ludicrous.”

On Tuesday, in a conference call with reporters to talk about the Missouri trip, McCarthy characterized some of the arguments raised against the proposal as “ludicrous” or “silly.” She did not use the terms to describe the opponents.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Blake said:

“McCarthy has poisoned the well (would that be a violation of the Clean Water Act?) by calling the opponents of her agency's interpretation of the Clean Water Act ‘silly’ and ‘ludicrous.’ Name calling hardly sets the stage for a productive discussion, but farmers in Missouri are willing to listen and look forward to a discussion that could be constructive, if Ms. McCarthy will treat farmers in Missouri with the respect they deserve.”

In her conference call, McCarthy said she was traveling to Missouri to meet with farmers and to try to clear up misconceptions about the EPA proposal, which is designed to clarify which bodies of water the agency has jurisdiction over under the Clean Water Act.

She emphatically denied the assertion by some that the agency will end up regulating “small, unconnected waters, including puddles on lawns, driveways and playgrounds.” And she rejected the argument, made by the American Farm Bureau Federation and others, that EPA will regulate “every last ditch.”  AFBF even has a public relations campaign against the plan called “Ditch the Rule.”

“That’s not true,” McCarthy said. “For the first time ever, our proposal makes it clear that we don’t regulate all ditches.”

Hurst says he’s looking forward to McCarthy’s visit.

“We look forward to finding common ground with Ms. McCarthy, and hope that she realizes that rules won’t work unless they have a significant nexus with common sense. We sincerely hope that she does more listening than talking during her trip, and when her visit ends, we fully expect that she’ll ditch the rule.”


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