Congressman Robert Hurt today released the following statement after announcing the introduction of the bipartisan Preserving Rural Resources Act (H.R. 2581). This measure would allow our farmers and foresters to preserve the natural resources they depend upon for their normal farming, forestry, ranching, and rural economic activities by protecting them from federal regulatory overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Congressman Jim Costa (D-California) is the lead cosponsor on the bill:
"There are no greater stewards of the land than our farmers, foresters, and ranchers whose livelihoods depend upon preserving the Commonwealth's abundant natural resources. The agricultural community, however, continues to suffer from unelected bureaucrats' misinterpretation of current statutory policy. This has led to the federal over-regulation of the natural resources on their property, which has had a significant negative impact on their farms, their small businesses, and their families. Washington does not know what is best for the people of Virginia's 5th District, and it is time that the federal government is removed as a roadblock to job creation so that our farmers and small businesses can hire and grow.
"That is why I have introduced the Preserving Rural Resources Act, which 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. Furthermore, this bill will allow our farmers to shift their time and resources from cutting through more government red tape to expanding production. It is critical that we enact commonsense reforms like the Preserving Rural Resources Act to encourage economic growth and get the people of Virginia's 5th District back to work."
Congressman Jim Costa added, "Our farmers work every day to conserve the land that provides them with their livelihood. The EPA's permitting process was never intended for routine agriculture activities and they have overreached in an effort to expand their regulatory footprint. These barriers make it cost and time prohibitive for farmers to take necessary actions within their own business. Our bill restores the balance and puts producers back in control."