(Posted Fri. Sep 26th, 2014)
This week, National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Chip Bowling and Corn Board member Keith Alverson, along with NCGA staff, met with senior U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials to discuss their concerns regarding the “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) proposed rule. During the substantive and constructive conversation, Bowling and Alverson provided real-world examples on how the rule, which was designed to clarify the Clean Water Act, actually muddy the waters.
“During this meeting, we made some important points that brought the officials attention to how the rule does not serve their purpose of increasing clarity,” Bowling explained. “Farmers requested clarification because it was, and still is, necessary. We greatly hope that, through this process, we can come to a solution that reaches the original goal.”
Both Bowling and Alverson supplied photographs of their farms, in Newburg, Md., and Chester, S.D., respectively, to illustrate how the proposed rule could be applied in a variety of ways which would actually increase already existing confusion. Their examples showed how corn farmers may have difficulty complying despite their desire to do so.
NCGA also stressed how, if implemented as stated, this rule would create significant, detrimental impacts on farmers.
This meeting came as part of an in-depth comment process on the proposed rule. NCGA will submit its formal written comments to the Federal Register in October.
NCGA urges members, farmers and their allies to join this effort to create clear, constructive guidelines.
As proposed, this rule would significantly expand the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act and would only further muddy the waters for farmers seeking clarity as to what is and what is not subject to federal regulation.
NCGA has many serious concerns regarding the impact the proposed rule could have on U.S. farmers. NCGA's concerns fall into four main areas:
- Farmers will face tremendous uncertainty because of the way the rule defines what is a tributary and what is an adjacent water subject to the Clean Water Act.
- The proposed rule represents a significant expansion of federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction relative to anything that has ever been covered in a previous rulemaking and contradicts two U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
- The vast numbers of ditches that would be subject to federal jurisdiction.
- Farmers will be required to obtain NPDES permits or face the threat of citizen action suits challenging the use of fertilizers and pesticides on or near drainage features that are made jurisdictional.
Take action today and make sure the EPA hears the voice of America’s farmers. Start by clicking here.