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Joint Statement of North Carolina Farm Bureau and the NC Chamber

RALEIGH, N.C., May 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation (NCFB) and the NC Chamber are disappointed by the decision of the Department of Environmental Quality and the Attorney General to file suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR).

"The NWPR provides clarity and commonsense oversight to ensure clean water. The NWPR very clearly protects lakes, rivers and streams," said NCFB President Shawn Harding. "The NWPR corrects previous versions of the rule by specifying that most ditches and areas where water just collects after rain are excluded, which is the appropriate level of protection under the Clean Water Act. Farmers all over the state are conserving resources and protecting our water better than ever before by installing conservation practices, buffer strips and using precision technology. During these unprecedented and uncertain times, farmers are facing a fragile future saddled with low commodity, livestock, dairy and poultry prices. They cannot absorb even more uncompensated regulatory burdens."

Gary Salamido, President and CEO of the NC Chamber said, "In these difficult economic times, farmers and business owners need regulatory certainty. The NWPR provides clarity about the level of regulation under the Clean Water Act. Under the NWPR, landowners will not need teams of lawyers to determine whether a regulated waterbody exists on their property. This allows farming and economic development activities to take place in a timely manner, while still protecting water quality."

Clean water is a top priority for farmers and business owners in North Carolina and nationwide. However, previous rules that defined waters under federal jurisdiction far exceeded the authority granted under the Clean Water Act. In fact, the 2015 version of the rule never went into effect in North Carolina due to court decisions ruling that EPA went too far. The NWPR will strike the appropriate balance of protecting the nation's waters and respecting the role that states play in clean water protections.

*DEQ oversees the rules for waste handling, and those rules remain in effect.

Cision

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SOURCE North Carolina Farm Bureau; NC Chamber of Commerce