Congressman Robert Hurt today released the following statement after announcing introduction of the bipartisan Preserving Rural Resources Act -- a bill that will protect the property rights of our farmers and foresters by preserving the natural resources they depend upon for their normal farming, silviculture, ranching, and rural economic activities and by protecting them from federal regulatory overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This legislation is cosponsored by Representative Jason Altmire (D-PA):
"Growing up and living in rural Virginia, I have the greatest appreciation for the abundant natural resources that we are blessed with in the Commonwealth and for the laws that ensure the preservation of our clean water and clean air. The farmers and foresters that I represent in the 5th District are among those with the greatest stake in preserving these resources, as their livelihood is dependent upon them. But for too long Congress has abandoned its legislative duty -- much to the agricultural community's detriment -- and allowed straight-forward statutory policy to be interpreted by bureaucrats who are unaccountable to the American people. As a result, the people of the 5th District have suffered from these interpretations of current law that have led to federal over-regulation of the natural resources on their property which has negatively affected their farms, their businesses, and their families. In order to preserve these natural resources for our farmers, foresters, and small businesses and for the economic engine they provide, I have introduced the Preserving Rural Resources Act.
"The Preserving Rural Resources Act will clarify current law by codifying current exemptions for normal farming, forestry, and ranching activities and allow members of our agricultural and forestry community to utilize the resources in place on their private property in ways that will enhance their agricultural production and activity. Additionally this bill will allow our farmers to shift their time and resources from wading through abundant and costly government bureaucracy to expanding production and creating jobs in Central and Southside Virginia. It is critical that we enact commonsense reforms like the Preserving Rural Resources Act so that we may preserve the American Dream for future generations."