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Farm groups say budget vote will block EPA 'overreach' on water

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A provision in the federal spending bill Congress passed last weekend blocks a proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule affecting agricultural land.

Farm groups welcomed the move because the provision blocks the EPA from adopting a proposed Clean Water Act Rule that would have allowed the agency to regulate areas that held water temporarily, including puddles.

"We want to see Congress step in and tell EPA they got to stop trying to regulate land use in the Clean Water Act, because Congress didn't authorize that," said Don Parrish, senior director of regulatory relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation.

EPA officials said opponents exaggerated the intent of the rule but would withdraw it.  

Farmers argued the proposal was a bureaucratic overreach.

"I think we all recognize that there needs to be probably a regulation," Parrish said. "But this one went way, way, way too far."

The spending bill also included a measure to block the EPA from taking action to regulate the digestive emissions of livestock.