EPA late to the party on educating about WOTUS

Published on: 15:25PM 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.


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