Ag groups oppose interpretative CWA rule
Despite differing opinions about the CWA proposed rule and IR, from the federal agencies that proposed the rules to the stakeholder groups fighting it, all who’ve spoken out on rules seem to have one point in common: All are committed to protecting water quality. Unfortunately, NCBA says the result of the IR will be less participation in voluntary and cost-share conservation programs at NRCS.
“Historically, NRCS and its field personnel have been seen as a friend to agriculture; helping producers achieve goals in production and conservation through technical and financial assistance,” McCan says. “Now, they will simply be an extended arm of the EPA, spending their time checking compliance of voluntary conservation activities.”
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy traveled to Missouri this week to try to ease concerns among the agricultural community regarding the IR and the proposed rule. She was the featured speaker at the regular meeting of the Kansas City Agribusiness Council and toured a farm in Rocheport, Mo. Additionally, Nancy Stoner, EPA acting assistant administrator for water, penned a blog recently claiming to “set the record straight” on the “waters of the U.S.” proposed rule and IR. Sticking to EPA’s “we’re only seeking to clarify our jurisdiction” claims, Stoner explains the agency’s point of view on the proposal.
While the IR is in effect, the agencies will continue accepting comments on the proposed rule until October 20. Comments can be submitted online through the federal government rulemaking portal.
We’ll have more coverage of the proposed rule and IR the coming weeks at Drovers CattleNetwork. But we also want to hear from you. Do you rest easier at night because the interpretive rule provides necessary assurances that EPA isn’t going to be knocking on your door requiring costly federal permits on your farm or ranch? Or are you among the agricultural stakeholders who’ve sounded the alarm and want EPA and the Corps to walk away from the rule? Leave your comments below.
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