Former Ag Secretary John Block’s Weekly Commentary – “EPA Land Grab”

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere and the National Corn Growers Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Last week, I was on the farm in Illinois. Only thing to report is that the pigs are happy eating that cheap corn and going to market. Before I went to the farm, I spoke at a Pro Farmer event in Omaha, Nebraska. They had an outstanding group of very well-informed and progressive farmers. My presentation covered a number of important ag issues. However, the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to tell us what we can and cannot do on our own farms and ranches raised a number of angry objections. And that’s what I want to talk about.

In a matter of days or weeks, the EPA could become our national zoning board, and I say with the passing of Supreme Court Justice Scalia, the chances just become bigger. The reason is the Supreme Court is about to decide whether to give the EPA the authority to make land use decisions throughout the nation. Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) empowers regulators to “micromanage any creek, pond or prairie pothole” and the land around them.

At this point, we run the risk of losing the battle of the American Farm Bureau Federation v. EPA. This land grab started when President Obama signed an Executive Order instructing the EPA to “make full use of its powers” to lower the levels of phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment in rain water runoff and tributaries that reach the east coast’s Chesapeake Bay. And, this was to be done in a manner that can be replicated “nationally.” So, look out middle America – Mississippi River basin, covering 31 states – you will be next.

The Supreme Court is the last line of defense. Under the Clean Water Act, the states, not the EPA, are responsible for regulating runoff. The President’s Order is contrary to the law. The irony is that the states of the Chesapeake region were already moving aggressively and effectively to clean their water before the EPA land grab.

According to a 2014 report from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Bay’s water quality had improved 40% since the 1980s. The states are perfectly capable and committed to deal with this problem.

The Supreme Court should review American Farm Bureau Federation v. EPA and put a stop to this illegal nightmare.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to Have a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.