Here's the latest information on Ditch The Rule efforts


The proposed rule defining “waters of the U.S.” sets off red flags for Pike County’s Jim Koeller.Jim Koeller

“When we start seeing words like seasonal flow, words like interconnectivity, that is what alarms me,” Koeller said. “As I look around at my farm, it looks like anything that flows off my farm could be regulated.”

Koeller farms near New Canton with his stepbrother, Edwin Harpole, and his father, Harry.

He recalls the battle over the definition of wetlands in the 1990s. Pike County, he said, served as “ground zero” in that battle. We’re seeing similarities by redefining waters of the U.S.,” he said.

The proposed rule, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers, states that the following are federally-protected under the Clean Water Act:

  • Most seasonal and rain-dependent streams.
  • Wetlands near rivers and streams.
  • Other types of waters may be protected, if a case-specific analysis shows that they have a “significant nexus” -- either alone or in combination with similarly situated “other waters” -- to a traditional navigable water, interstate water or territorial seas.

EPA says the rule merely clarifies which wetlands and streams are “waters of the U.S.” Illinois Farm Bureau and other agricultural groups disagree, saying the rule would expand its jurisdiction beyond what Congress intended.

“Alarms are going off in our minds,” Koeller said. “We see the burden of proof being placed upon the farmer. We see the need for permits. We see definitions and words that EPA is defining without common sense. “We are just very concerned that this will be an attempt to regulate basically every little stream that comes out of your field.”

Leaders in Washington, he said, need to remember that farmers grow food. Proposals like this, he noted, add extra regulations and “make it impossible to do business. I’d sure hate for us to wake up some day, and say, ‘Boy, I sure hate the cost of food being so high and bringing it all in from other countries and wonder what happened,’ Koeller said. “These are steps.”

Watch this video for a complete explanation of the proposed rule, and share it on social media to help spread the word.

Contact your local county Farm Bureau for information, or visit the official Ditch the Rule website for an in-depth explanation.

IFB’s Director of National Legislation & Policy Development, Adam Nielson, says it is important for Illinois to continue efforts to spread the word about the proposed rule.

 Help Ditch the Rule:

  1. Contact your County Farm Bureau and ask them how you can get involved.
  2. Share posts and retweet information from the IFB Facebook and Twitter pages as we share content at least twice per week.
  3. Contact your County Farm Bureau for additional resources such as a web graphic, yard sign, bumper sticker or window cling.

Content provided by Deana Stroisch, FarmWeek

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American Farm Bureau Federation

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