Today, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse welcomed Jeff Metz from Angora, NE to the Senate Committee on Agriculture to testify on the devastating impact of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule.
“The lack of common sense in Washington outrages Nebraskans: EPA bureaucrats are trying to regulate puddles and ditches,” said Sasse, chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Marketing and Agriculture Security. “This is nonsense—have these people ever set foot on a farm or ranch? Congress needs to hear from Nebraskans who care about clean water but have to pay the price for foolish red tape. It’s an honor to have Jeff Metz testify before the Agriculture Committee and I hope that his perspective on this important issue brings some seriousness to Washington.”
“It’s important that our elected leaders understand American farmers and ranchers are stewards of the land,” said Jeff Metz, owner and operator of the Metz Land and Cattle Company of Angora, Nebraska. “The EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule proposal isn’t about clean water. It’s about expanding the reach of the federal government onto every farm and ranch in the country in a way that not only exceeds the power given them in the Clean Water Act, but in a way that would hurt farm and ranch families by allowing the federal government to control how we use our land.”
On March 25, 2014, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers released a proposed rule to redefine “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The proposal would dramatically expand federal authority, in some cases subjecting regular farming and ranching tasks like plowing, fertilizing, or building fences to the Clean Water Act’s permitting and reporting requirements.
The EPA continues to move the proposal through the rulemaking process, despite their lack of outreach to state and local governments and failure to conduct an adequate economic analysis. Many expect the EPA to issue a finalized rule in the spring or summer of this year.
Senator Sasse, an outspoken critic of the EPA’s proposal and member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, invited Mr. Jeff Metz of Morrill county to testify before the committee today.
Metz is the owner and operator of the Metz Land and Cattle Company of Angora, Nebraska, where he runs a cow-calf operation and farms winter wheat and other crops. Since 2010, he has served also as a County Commissioner in Morrill County, so his perspective is informed by both his experience as a farmer and rancher and also by his role in local government.