King continues to press EPA to clarify rule and issue clearer compliance guidelines for Maine farmers WESTBROOK, ME – December 01, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy toured Smiling Hill Farm in Westbrook and held a roundtable with agricultural officials from across the state to discuss the EPA’s Clean Water Rule and its impact on farmers in Maine. The roundtable follows a letter to the agency led by Senator King and signed by ten of his colleagues expressing concern over the ambiguity of the rule and how it may create uncertainty that could have a detrimental impact on farming operations in Maine. During the roundtable today, Senator King joined with farmers from across the state to reiterate those concerns to Administrator McCarthy, and he also pledged to continue to work with the EPA to see that the agency clarifies agricultural exemptions and provides more concise compliance guidelines for Maine farmers. “No one is more committed to preserving and protecting the environment than the people of Maine. Our natural resources are not only a hallmark of our state, but they’re also the foundation of our economy,” Senator King said. “But for Maine’s farmers and for everyone who relies on the land for a living, the ambiguity of the Clean Water Rule has caused a lot of justifiable concern. Farmers here just want to know that they won’t have to hire a lawyer or a soil scientist to dig something like an irrigation ditch, and the EPA owes it to them to address those concerns, clarify the rule, and provide more concise compliance guidance. Today’s roundtable was a positive step in that direction, and I look forward to further engaging with the EPA to ensure that it enacts a common-sense rule that protects the environment and allows our farmers to do their jobs.” Earlier this year, the EPA and the U.S. Army formalized the Clean Water Rule to better protect streams and waterways across the country from pollution and degradation. However, farmers in Maine and elsewhere have expressed concerns, which are shared by Senator King, on the ambiguity of the rule and have sought clearer and more concise implementation guidance to both better understand how it would impact their businesses and ensure that their farming operations are in line with the intent of the rule and not unduly hampered by it. To address those concerns, Senator King earlier this month led a letter to the EPA signed by ten of his colleagues urging the agency to clarify the rule’s agricultural exemptions and provide clearer guidelines. Today’s roundtable represented a step forward in that effort, but Senator King also reaffirmed his willingness to pursue legislative changes to the rule if his concerns are not properly addressed by the agency.
RealEstateRama King, EPA Administrator Tour Westbrook Farm, Hold Roundtable for Maine Farmers on Clean Water Rule