EPA, Farmers Continue to Spar on Clean Water Rule

September 9, 2015 02:15 PM
EPA, Farmers Continue to Spar on Clean Water Rule

Nearly two weeks after a federal district judge stopped the Clean Water Rule from being implemented in 13 states, EPA and agriculture are still butting heads over what the new regulation really means for farmers and ranchers, especially in the 37 states where the rule took effect in late August.

“We are not going to be out there looking” for farmers who have unknowingly violated the new rules, Ken Kopocis, deputy assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water, told Mike Adams on AgriTalk.  “We are not changing the way we interact with permitted entities or people who don’t need permits. Most of the normal farming activities do not need permits, and they will continue (not needing permits).”

Listen to the AgriTalk conversation here:

He said farmers and ranchers should not focus so much on the classification of their property’s streams and ditches under the new rule, but rather on the plans they might have—and what the rules say about them. “Whether a waterway is covered or not by the (new) law is irrelevant if you don’t need a permit for your activity,” Kopocis said.

For those activities that do require permits, farmers and ranchers better get that paperwork done if they live outside of the 13 states included in the North Dakota judge’s ruling. “They need to know we are going to use this new rule at this point in time,” Kopocis said.”

It remains a frustrating situation for the agriculture industry, which sees the rule as both overreaching and incredibly vague. “Landowners have no reliable way to know which of the water and land within that area will be regulated, yet they must still conform their activities to the new law,” the American Farm Bureau Federation said in statement.

Some lawmakers are sympathetic. <a data-cke-saved-href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1140/text?q={" href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1140/text?q={" search":["\"s1140\""]}&resultindex="1&quot;">Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.) has introduced legislation that would require EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to revisit the controversial regulation.

Do you live in a state where the Clean  Water Rule has taken effect? How is it affecting you? Let us know in the comments or on the AgWeb discussion boards.





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Spell Check

Shane Meier
Elizabethtown , IN
9/11/2015 08:29 PM

  After getting our land inventoried by NRCS we proceeded to log part of one of our wooded propertys so we could build a lake to irrigate our crop land EPA states there is 1.15 acres of wetland and 1800' of wooded stream bank that was embarked upon We have spent over $100000 and are at the stage of the process that we must justify yes justify why we need to build the damn at the spot we have chose, if a committee agrees with our reasons, then we have to submit a plan to replace the wetland at a 4 to 1 amount and recreate the 1800' of wooded stream bank In the end we expect to get our permit, but the amount of $$ spent to get to the permit will be more than 3x the $$ to construct the damn, The wooded stream bank only has water in it from my tiles draining and or heavy rains, maybe 30 days a year. One could argue our land is exempt from the clean water act anyway due to the use of the lake will be to irrigate crop land, regardless you would think you could build a lake on your property that does not have water running through it from a named creek or stream, but that is not how it works folks, all because of how our land is labeled. Hope the farmer(tax payer) gets some clarity on the exemptions for Ag soon


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