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By Congressman Robert Hurt
Hearing the feedback from the people of the 5th District is very important to me. That is why I have spent countless hours traveling across the 5th District and visiting Central and Southside Virginians in their neighborhoods and their workplaces. The concerns that I hear from the citizens from Danville to Charlottesville and from Franklin to Brunswick guide me as I serve the 5th District in Washington.
That is why I have introduced legislation throughout this Congress that has come directly from concerns 5th District citizens have relayed to me throughout my travels in the district. The most recent such bill I have introduced – along with Congressman Jason Altmire (D-PA) – is H.R. 4278, the Preserving Rural Resources Act.
Central and Southside Virginians repeatedly tell me that Washington is part of our economic problem and scaling it back is the solution. During one District Work Week, a Pittsylvania County farmer expressed his grave concern with federal government over-regulation on the family farm in Southside as he described a situation where onerous regulations cost him a whole season’s crop as well as over $30,000 in permitting fees.
Growing up in rural Virginia, I have always had a great appreciation for the resources with which we have been endowed and I am a firm believer that those who are best equipped to care for the land are farmers who, by trade, are dependent on the land.
Unfortunately, Washington has a different idea of who knows best – they believe bureaucrats who are unelected and unaccountable to the American people do. That is why, for years, farmers like those I represent in Central and Southside Virginia have been negatively impacted by federal regulations – in this case derived from laws they are supposed to be protected under. As a result, the people of the 5th District have suffered from these interpretations of current law that have led to federal over-regulation of the natural resources on their property.
The Preserving Rural Resources Act that I introduced with Congressman Altmire will help lighten the regulatory burdens on our farmers, foresters, and small businesses.
This legislation will clarify current law by codifying exemptions for normal farming, forestry, and ranching activities and allow 5th District citizens to use the resources on their private property in ways that will enhance their agricultural production and activity, without causing them years of lost productivity and crops and tens of thousands of dollars lost to a burdensome permitting process.
The Preserving Rural Resources Act will allow our farmers to shift their time and resources from wading through abundant and costly government bureaucracy to expanding production and creating the jobs we need in Central and Southside Virginia.
Central and Southside Virginians have been my greatest resource as I serve the 5th District and formulating solutions to those concerns have played a major role in the legislative initiatives I have worked on since last January. Delivering on the concerns from the 5th, the Preserving Rural Resources Act is another small step in taking their message to heart and making Washington part of the solution and removing it as part of the problem.
If you need any additional information, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120