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Groups Align Against New Clean Water Rules

Rich Egger

The Illinois business community is lining up with farm groups in an effort to stave off some new federal water regulations. 

The Illinois Farm Bureau has the backing of the manufacturers and the state Chamber of Commerce as it works to derail proposed rules that it says would lead to the Feds getting more of a say in how farm land is used.  

The changes to the Clean Water Act would give the US EPA more control over wetlands and streams on farms. 

Agriculture groups say it could – for example -- lead to a lot more regulatory hurdles to even dig near a drainage ditch.  

The Farm Bureau's Lauren Lurkins said the plan tips the scales too far in the direction of federal control.

"We don't necessarily believe that that type of regulation -- having to go get a permit -- will end up in an environmental benefit that folks would like to see."

Lurkins said farmers engage in voluntary conservation efforts and follow state and local rules. 

They are urging farmers to dog the feds over the next month to voice concerns about the proposal.

Harvest Public Media’s reporter in Springfield, Ill., comes to Harvest with a background of covering state government and rural issues. For the past eight years, Bill was general manager of public radio station WUIS in Springfield. Prior to that, he spent a decade as State Capitol bureau chief for Illinois Public Radio. During his time in the Illinois statehouse Bill won several awards including Best Investigative Reporter from the Associated Press and Best Statehouse Beat Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors in 2004. Bill also spent eight years as News Director at WIUM public radio in Macomb, Ill., and is a past president of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association.