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Will the Proposed Clean Water Act Hurt or Help Farmers?

Author: Kristy

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corp of Engineers were hoping to clear up a murky issue on March 25, when they released a proposed an expansion of their federal authority over “waters of the United States.”

The goal of the proposed rule is to clarify and target the Clean Water Act to the benefit of agriculture. Yet ag groups remain skeptical, as this proposed rule would give the federal government regulatory authority over millions of acres of wetlands and about 2 million miles of streams.

The first step it to actually define what are “waters of the United States”?

The proposed rule from the agencies defines them as:

 

  • All waters which are currently used, were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide
  • All interstate waters, including interstate wetlands
  • The territorial seas
  • All impoundments of a traditional navigable water, interstate water, the territorial seas or a tributary
  • All tributaries of a traditional navigable water, interstate water, the territorial seas or impoundment
  • All waters, including wetlands, adjacent to a traditional navigable water, interstate water, the territorial seas, impoundment or tributary
  • On a case-specific basis, other waters, including wetlands, provided that those waters alone, or in combination with other similarly situated waters, including wetlands, located in the same region, have a significant nexus to a traditional navigable water, interstate water or the territorial seas

“There needs to be clarification on the Clean Water Act,” says Lois Alt, a West Virginia chicken farmer, who won a case against EPA concerning the regulations of the Clean Water Act. “There are no farmers that can’t handle regulations, and I don’t know anybody who cares any more for the land than a farmer.”  READ MORE

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