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by Jeremy Lawrence

What we have here, to paraphrase from Cool Hand Luke, is a failure to Legislate!

On a number of occasions over the past several years, thereve been decisions and directives in Washington, about which I have thought, I dont think thats right - - as in proper. If that is a negative, then the negativity is spreading, and becoming more and more worrisome, as the bureaucracies at the Federal level are ever-expanding. The Federocracy needs to be reined in.

Not so long ago, President Obama outlined a number things he wanted to, and expected to, accomplish. Recognizing, apparently, that much of what he had in mind would not readily come about, in at least one house of Congress, he said something like, If I dont have the legislative process, I do have a telephone and a pen. That, we took to mean a continuation of the flurry of Executive Orders that have come out of the West Wing.

That model at the top maybe what has given Eric Holder, the Attorney General, the courage and the incentive to ignore the prosecution of a number of transgressors whom others have thought to be natural targets of law enforcement. Thats not happening.

Just a little bit further down the scale we have the latest move into Agriculture, by the Environmental Protection Agency. Even after all this time, I would expect that some people will contend that any of the common practices of farming tend to endanger the environment, and that a watchful eye of the EPA is warranted and necessary.

And yet, the latest EPA move, armed as it is with enforcement of the Clean Water Act, is seen and described by some as a total power grab. That we get from Laura Campbell, manager of Michigan Farm Bureaus Agriculture Ecology Department. She speaks of the EPA warning of its intent to develop, interpret and enforce the Clean Water Act. In the process, EPA redefines its omnipotence over waters of the United States.

Somewhere along the line, the word navigable as it relates to waterways has been lost - -or more likely, just set aside and abandoned. Whats happening now, Campbell says, EPA already has seized control over tributaries to navigable waters, and that under the proposed new rule, if it is allowed to be implemented, EPA is claiming jurisdiction over water that flows through tiles, through ditches and grassed waterways - - even water that flows briefly after heavy rains, low spots in fields and other areas described by EPA as shallow subsurface flows.

EPA spokesmen say agricultural exemptions will remain in place, safeguarding Agriculture. The tricky thing here, according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman, Exemptions apply only to dredge and fill permit requirements, and do nothing to protect from federal veto power over pest and weed control.

Left unbridled, might EPA decide that water in Michigan would be better protected in Arizona? Wel-l-l-l-l-l-l-l.

Karl Guenther is a retired farm broadcaster at WKZO and can be reached at khguenther@charter.net . He is a member of Michigan Farm Bureau and an emeritus member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting. (accompanying picture is a screen capture from YouTube)