With `friends' like these, who needs you know what? A VIRTUALLY solid block of congressional ag supporters from both parties are incensed over the president's and EPA's roughshod trampling of congressional prerogatives in the recent issuance of TMDL final rules. This action has provoked legislation in many quarters.

There are bills to overturn the EPA rule under the Congressional Review Act provision of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act of 1996 and various riders set to be attached to remaining appropriations bills that still require congressional passage for fiscal 2001. The House Ag Committee was to hold hearings and markup H.R. 1592 on Sept. 7.

This is the bill we all have supported. It would force EPA to follow good science and use an open process in development of FQPA regulations. We feel sure the TMDL issue will somehow be brought into these hearings.

To further politicize the TMDL issue. a few (at this writing) liberal Democrats led by Rep. Bonior, D-Mich., have written a well-publicized letter to House Democrats and have drafted a letter congratulating Mr. Clinton for forcing the TMDL rules. The House's letter urges Democrats to show support for the president's action by signing the congratulatory letter to him.

So that you may know who your friends are the signers to date are Bonior, Oberstar, D-Minn., Borski, D. Pa., Holt, D-N.J., Pallone, D-N.J., Hoeffel, D-Pa.