Proposed Clean Water Act Rule Created by rrummel on 6/21/2014 12:39:08 PM
House Ag Subcommittee Holds Hearing
During a House Agriculture Subcommittee hearingThursday on the applicability of the Clean Water Act on ag practices - AgUndersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie maintainedconservation practices under the interpretative rule are still voluntary -according to The Hagstrom Report. However - Subcommittee Chair Glenn Thompsonsaid the standards have gone from voluntary to compulsory. Thompson says iffarmers and ranchers don’t want to face the consequences - fees andinterruptions - of the Clean Water Act - it is compulsory. House Ag RankingMember Collin Peterson says his experience with his constituents is that theArmy Corps of Engineers has gone off the reservation. One the one hand - Bonniesays it’s clear the Waters of the U.S. issue has been a deep concern foragriculture - but he says the number of exemptions has been increased through avoluntary basis - so the hope is it will be accepted as the opportunity it is.
American Farm BureauFederation Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs Don Parrish told lawmakers theEPA isn’t content with regulating just water - they want to control land use -too. Parrish says the agency’s overreach ignores the will of Congress andcourts - and compounds farmers’ problems by calling into question dozens ofexemptions for basic farming techniques. Pennsylvania cattle producer AndyFabin told the subcommittee as a farmer - his willingness to implementvoluntary conservation practices has been greatly diminished - despite hisdesire to improve and protect the waters on his farm. If the interpretive ruleremains in place - Fabin says farmers and ranchers across the U.S. will slowtheir adoption of conservation practices. While EPA, the Corps and NRCS wouldhave him believe the activities that take place on his farm are exempted -Fabin says it is a negligent mischaracterization because not all ag activitiesare exempted under the Clean Water Act. In fact - he says the proposed rulewould expand the number of farming activities that need permits.