Proposed water regulation concerns farmers and more

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 14, 2014 4:00 AM

(Harrisburg) -- A federal agency's proposed water regulations has some farmers, construction managers, and business owners fuming.

But it's not completely clear how the regulation would be enforced.


Photo by Ben Allen/witf

Rep. Scott Perry and others speak at a press conference Tuesday in Manchester, York County.

The so-called Waters of the U.S. rule could subject thousands of upstream lakes, ponds and wetlands to regulation under the Clean Water Act.

The Environmental Protection Agency says it's proposing the new rule to clear up confusion after two Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006.

It also says the changes will streamline permitting.

"Just allowing EPA to have a greater say and issue additional permits and charge additional fines, that won't make the process go any faster," says Dan Leese, a farmer and Pennsylvania Farm Bureau state Board member in Fulton County. 

"That will only slow it down."

Leese says the only reasonable solution is to not go forward with the rule.

"It is clearly an overreach from the congressional authorization of the Clean Water Act. The Supreme Court has twice struck down similar, though not as far reaching, extensions."

He says the EPA has already set enough standards, and the state Department of Environmental Protection is already watching water quality across Pennsylvania.

The public comment period closes in mid-July.

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