03/10/2011 - The Farm Bureau national lobby group’s recent decision to file a lawsuit in federal court to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from limiting the amount of toxic pollutants that flow into the Chesapeake Bay is both shortsighted and ill advised. Efforts to prevent the EPA from regulating such pollution will damage the environment across the Chesapeake watershed and not only in the bay.
Farming practices that limit runoff from farms are inextricably intertwined with sustainable farming. Farms must be sustainable in order for future generations to be able to continue to reap the same benefit from the land. That said, farms should not be subject to an unfair share of the responsibility of restoring the environment in the Chesapeake watershed. Proper water and sewage management and improved environmental practices in urban and suburban areas are also essential and must be pursued. All people benefit from farms and for this reason society as a whole should help farmers carry the responsibility of land stewardship.
It is for this reason that there are state and federal cost share programs to assist farmers in their efforts to minimize polluting run off and improve water quality. The Farm Bureau should be focused on making sure that these programs are fully funded so that society as a whole shoulders the cost of needed environmental practices rather than opposing efforts to improve the environment which will ultimate degrade farms. The EPA’s efforts to protect and improve the environment in the Chesapeake watershed are essential if our region is to reverse the long steady decline of the regional environment.
Read the full letter to the editor Farm Bureau Stand Is a Shortsighted One on Rappahannock News' Web site.