WASHINGTON, July 31, 2014 – Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and 12 other Democratic senators sent a letter to three government agencies today asking them to provide certainty on U.S. waters that could fall under Clean Water Act regulation.

In a letter addressed to the EPA, the Army Corps of Engineer and USDA, the senators said stakeholders across the country have raised concerns with the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule and an accompanying interpretive rule dealing with exemptions for certain farming practices. The lawmakers said more clarity could provide much-needed certainty – to make sure the rule doesn’t have unintended effects on agriculture and on critical conservation efforts.

“While we have long been supporters of the Clean Water Act protecting our nation’s water resources, we want to make sure that the proposed jurisdictional rule and the interpretive rule do not have unintended effects on agriculture and on the conservation practices currently used by many of our nation’s farmers and ranchers,” the senators said.

The rules “could undermine progress made in the 2014 Farm Bill if they create an atmosphere of uncertainty that results in fewer conservation practices or significant new burdens for our nation’s farmers and ranchers,” the letter said.

The letter was signed by the following senators, all Democrats: Debbie Stabenow,, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Mark Warner of Virginia and Michael Bennet of Colorado.


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