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Michigan Farm Bureau comments on WOTUS, wasps

Michigan Farm Bureau is calling for the protection of state’s rights when it comes to the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. definitions.

In 13-pages of comments to the EPA, Agriculture Ecology Department manager Laura Campbell says farmers in the state are very concerned that rewriting of what waters are federally regulated would prevent many normal farming activities and the use of new farmlands to supply food to a growing population.

She says the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which was vacated last week by a federal judge, gave farmers clear, consistent definition of what waters are federally regulated.

She says Michigan was the first state to delegate authority to manage its own water and wetlands programs and is one of only three states — including Florida and New Jersey — to do so.

Unless a new rule defines WOTUS more strictly than state regulations, the current stream, lake, and wetland regulations for Michigan farmers will not change, potentially sparing farmers from regulatory confusion that could be seen nationwide.

Separately, Michigan Farm Bureau recently submitted comments to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in support of the agency granting a permit to release a parasitic wasp that could control spotted-wing drosophila.

Farm Bureau says the wasp could work as a biological control to SWD, significantly reducing fruit grower costs, pesticide residues and increasing worker safety.

APHIS has come to a preliminary determination the wasp would not have a significant impact on the environment.  If approved, MSU entomologists plan to research its performance in Michigan.

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