by Jenna Neeley
Lawmakers say the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is shutting down agricultural businesses across the United States, and want to stop the agency before it gets to Utah.
The EPA has been closing large dairies and feedlots around the country based on non-compliance with the Clean Water Act. They use regulatory authority, without going through Congress, to shut down any company that does not meet the standards of the act, Sen. Ralph Okerlund, R- Monroe,
Okerlund, R- Monroe, hopes to pass the Environmental Stewardship Bill, which has not been publicly introduced and doesn’t have a bill number. The bill would create an environmental standard for Utah operators. Once these specific criteria are met and companies pass a state inspection, the state will issue a Certificate of Environmental Stewardship, which verifies the company’s high environmental standard.
This would allow for rural businesses to evaluate themselves, and fix any compromised environmental issues before the EPA issues an injunction to shut them down. If the EPA does step in, the state would potentially intervene to help out rural business and farmers by showing proof of compliance with the state standards.
“We haven’t had this problem here yet, but we think it’s coming,” Okerlund said, “So we are getting ahead of the curve to do something to stop [government overreach] once it gets here”