Pro Farmer Extra
- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -
April 4, 2014
EPA making waves in the farm community (again)
A recent poll on AgriTalk.com revealed that 94% of respondents (presumably mostly farmers) believe the EPA is overreaching its authority when it comes to a proposed plan for the Clean Water Act. Well... EPA seems to be making a habit of making its own interpretations of laws that sometimes don't fit with the Congressional intent of those laws. This week, Pro Farmer associate editor Meghan Pedersen and Washington Consultant Jim Wiesemeyer offer updates on two of the most controversial issues.
Final 2014 RFS expected by June
Despite a proposed rule that would roll back the biofuel mandates in the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the Obama administration “remains committed to biofuels” Administrator Gina McCarthy recently told a forum held by the American Council on Renewable Energy. McCarthy has also promised a final 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by June, or perhaps sooner. McCarthy also said she hopes EPA can propose the 2015 RFS earlier to reduce uncertainty in the sector.
Sources continue to tell us to expect a 2014 RFS for corn-based ethanol that is between the legislated level and EPA’s proposal.
Proposed waters rule backlash
“Dismay” was expressed by the American Farm Bureau Federation following its review of the 371-page proposed rule from EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that defines waters of the U.S. under the Clean Water Act (CWA). AFBF President Bob Stallman notes, “EPA says its new rule will reduce uncertainty, and that much seems to be true: there isn’t much uncertainty if most every feature where water flows or stands after a rainfall is federally regulated.”
House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) also cited the proposed waters rule as a priority when it comes to providing producers with regulatory relief during a hearing on the rural economy last week. He noted the administration’s regulatory initiatives often originate from those with “no frame of reference for how farmers produce our nation’s food supply.” He cited EPA’s proposed definition of waters protected under the CWA as the latest example of this: “Under this proposal, small streams and ditches would be regulated even if they are miles away from navigable waters, even if they are dry most of the time.” This jeopardizes producers and “defies common sense,” he said.
Follow Pro Farmer Editorial Director Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory
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