Waters of the United States and the Clean Water Act
"If the rule is finalized, EPA could potentially require permits for spraying pesticides, building fences, digging ditches or even planting crops, Stallman said….
"Stallman said the Farm Bureau's first priority in opposing the rule will be to meet with EPA officials.
"The Farm Bureau has asked congressional appropriators to block the rule's implementation in spending bills. And Stallman said his group will consider suing EPA if it objects to the finalized rule."
Contrast those comments with the statements of Roger Johnson, President of the National Farmers Union: The " NFU is encouraged by the report's science-based approach that recognizes the unique circumstances of agricultural producers. Since 1902, NFU has advocated for the economic and social well-being and quality of life of family farmers and their communities through the sustainable production of food, fiber, feed and fuel. In addition to the report, I am pleased that the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have sent a draft rule to clarify [the] CWA to the Office of Management and Budget. It is NFU's hope that this rule will clear up CWA jurisdiction in a way that gives farmers and ranchers more certainty. In particular, we hope that the draft rule clarifies CWA jurisdiction so that it encourages increased enrollment in important U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation programs.
"As you know, existing agricultural exemptions from Clean Water Act jurisdiction include:
- "Agricultural stormwater discharges;
- "Return flows from irrigated agriculture;
- "Normal farming, silvicultural, and ranching activities;
- "Upland soil and water conservation practices;
- "Construction and maintenance of farm or stock ponds or irrigation ditches;
- "Maintenance of drainage ditches;
- "Construction or maintenance of farm, forest, and temporary mining roads;
- "Prior converted cropland, including the role of USDA; and
- "Waste treatment systems.
"NFU supports maintaining these existing exemptions and including them in the final rule [these are included on pages 22193 and 22194 in the proposed rule].
"In addition to existing agriculture exemptions, the proposed rule is expected to include the following new agricultural exclusions:
- "Non-tidal drainage, including tiles, and irrigation ditches excavated on dry land;
- "Artificially irrigated areas that would be dry if irrigation stops;
- "Artificial lakes or ponds used for purposes such as stock watering or irrigation;
- "Areas artificially flooded for rice growing;
- "Artificial ornamental waters created for primarily aesthetic reasons;
- "Water-filled depressions created as a result of construction activity; and
- "Pits excavated in uplands for fill, sand or gravel that fill with water.
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