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July 2014 Archive for PFA Pioneer Blog

RSS By: Chip Flory, Pro Farmer

This is a private blog for Pioneer.

More than ag upset with WOTUS

Jul 18, 2014

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

July 18, 2014

Today's perspective is by Pro Farmer News Editor Meghan Pedersen and Washington Consultant Jim Wiesemeyer.

More than ag interests upset with WOTUS

The waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule that tries to spell out the scope of the Clean Water Act remains under siege. The ag industry, lawmakers and environmental interests have all taken issue with components of WOTUS and its accompanying interpretive rule that defines 56 ag practices exempt from permitting requirements. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy has expressed surprise at the level of concern generated about the interpretive rule and has indicated she may be willing to pull it back. But the administration says her agency needs time to address objections to the rule. It is increasingly apparent EPA and the Army Corps would have saved face and headache if they had consulted stakeholders and USDA prior to releasing the rules.

Ag interests have expressed worries that voluntary measures approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) would become mandatory under the interpretive rule, while environmental groups are unhappy about the farmer exemptions from dredge-and-fill permitting requirements. Groups like the Association of State Wetlands Managers (ASWM) say some of the practices that are now exempt from permitting could violate state water quality standards if they are practiced without oversight.

Lawmakers have also taken action on the matter. Provisions in the House’s Energy and Water spending bills would block the proposed rule for one year and would broaden ag exemptions to the law’s Section 404 permitting requirements. A House panel advanced a separate bill that would block implementation of the proposed rule and would repeal the interpretive rule. The measure would also require EPA to consult with state and local officials on the issue and report recommendations for a consensus proposal to Congress.

Pressure from all sides is mounting, especially on the interpretive rule. This may increase odds EPA will pull it.
 


Follow Pro Farmer Editorial Director Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

EPA late to the party on educating about WOTUS

Jul 11, 2014

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

July 11, 2014

Ag interests press EPA on WOTUS

Pressure is building from major ag groups and farm-state lawmakers for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to alter its Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. Ag interests are concerned Section 404 permitting requirements would not be exempt under the accompanying interpretive rule unless farmers adhere to standards set by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy met with farmers, ranchers and other ag interests last week in an effort to ease concerns raised about WOTUS and the interpretive rule, which the agency insists are non-binding, voluntary measures. McCarthy signaled farmers and others have raised legitimate concerns and also indicated there is a willingness to pull back the interpretive rule.

Pro Farmer Washington Consultant Jim Wiesemeyer says, “If EPA and McCarthy had taken as much time to educate and consult with ag interests before WOTUS and the interpretive rule, as they are trying to do now, they would be a lot further along in the process. Trust is hard to restore after so much distrust on this issue. That distrust precedes McCarthy.”

Farm bill implementation issues
 

Crop insurance and dairy program provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill were key issues discussed during a House Agriculture General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee hearing last week. Lawmakers peppered USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse on why the Risk Management Agency is currently not planning to implement Actual Production History adjustment provisions until the 2016 crop year. Lawmakers also urged USDA to give dairy producers some basic information on the new dairy program while details are developed. Scuse pledged to see how USDA can address lawmakers’ concerns.

 


Follow Pro Farmer Editorial Director Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

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