News Releases

Rutledge Accepts Invitation to Testify Before Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry


March 20, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that she has accepted an invitation to appear on Tuesday, March 24, before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry for a hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) proposed rule. Rutledge released the following statement:

“It is an honor for me to accept the invitation of Chairman Pat Roberts to appear before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. While the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have repeatedly offered assurances that agriculture stakeholders need not worry about the scope of the proposed definition of ‘waters of the United States,’ the agriculture community in Arkansas is worried that everyday tasks such as plowing and the appropriate application of pesticides and fertilizer will subject them to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. Any farmer or rancher who has flowing water, regardless of size, through their land would be covered under the proposed rule and thus in potential violation of law.

“In 2012 alone, Agriculture added $20.1 billion to the Arkansas economy, but farmers, like those in the Arkansas Delta, are facing new challenges every day to help feed consumers at home and abroad. This proposed rule has caused widespread concern, and I commend the Committee for examining its impact.”

On April 21, 2014, the EPA and the Corps published a proposed rule to amend the definition of “waters of the United States” under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). This rule purports to clarify the agencies’ regulatory jurisdiction under the CWA based on rulings in several U.S. Supreme Court cases.

The hearing will include two panels of witnesses. Rutledge will appear on the first panel which, will also include Dr. Donald van der Vaart, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources; Susan Metzger, Assistant Secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture; and Josh Baldi, Regional Director of the Washington State Department of Ecology.

The hearing, which is open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. CT. A live video stream, provided by the Committee, will be broadcast here.

Arkansas’s senior U.S. Senator John Boozman is a member of the Committee and is currently the chairman of the Subcommittee on Commodities, Markets, Trade and Risk Management.

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