Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander worked the words “regulating mud puddles” into nearly every answer at a candidate forum hosted by the Farm Bureau. He’s referring to new rules under the Clean Water Act governing navigable waterways. Mud puddles have become one of his most-used jabs at the White House during his reelection campaign.
“What the Obama administration is trying to do is to take that law and apply it to – literally – mud puddles, to apply it to standing water on your farms,” Alexander said.
Alexander is echoing a Republican talking point that has been around for a year or so. He’s been seen as trying to bolster his anti-EPA image because he’s actually one of the more environmentally conscious Republicans in the senate.
He explained his nuanced views on conservation to the group of farmers in Cookeville last week.
“Sometimes I’m one of the few Republicans who votes for the clean air amendments because I know that most of our metropolitan areas have an air problem,” Alexander said. “And in East Tennessee, we’d like to be able to see the Smokies.”
Alexander’s Democratic opponent – Gordon Ball – has also been using the EPA as a punching bag, but from a different angle. He talks about having to file lawsuits to clean up the Pigeon River because the EPA was moving too slowly.