NCGA Concerned Over EPA Rule Created by rrummel on 7/9/2014 3:11:24 PM
Impact of WOTUS - Troubling
The National Corn Growers Associationraised serious concerns over the impact of the Interpretive Rule regarding theexemption from permitting under the Clean Water Act in comments submitted todayto the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, asking the agency to withdraw therule.
Citing serious concerns over therule's implications for farmers carrying out normal activities, NCGA asked theEPA to withdraw the Interpretive Rule and work with the agricultural communityto develop an alternative approach that would allow for farmer comment and thusan opportunity to protect their interests.
In the comments, NCGA notedappreciation for the efforts of the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineersfor working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to developthis rule. Notably, NCGA joined with a broad array of other groups in askingEPA to do so in order to provide greater clarity on the implications of theClean Water Act relevant to agriculture. This request was necessary in light ofon-going legal battles that led to confusion and the potential for marketdisruption.
NCGA also voiced strong concern overthe potential legal liabilities which could arise as a result of the rule.Firmly calling for full withdraw, the comments outlined how the rule, inpractice, would increase legal liability for farmers going about normal, routinefarming practices.
Additionally, the comments raisedconcern over the ability to properly and clearly evaluate the rule's practicalimplications without a clear understanding of what is considered a water underthe jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.
"Given that the lawful definitionof a WOTUS is currently under development we are forced into a considerabledegree of speculation as to the Rule's practical effects in light of thecurrent list of covered conservation practices," NCGA stated in thecomments. "For example, we believe that the details concerning normalfarming activities or conservation work carried out in the context of anintermittent stream and its riparian zone will, in certain instances, beconsiderably different than those for when the work is carried out in anephemeral drainage feature in an upland area in a farm field. We areconcerned that the proposed WOTUS rule, as it is currently drafted, encompassesboth of these features as WOTUS. We and many others will object as a matter oflaw and policy to such a definition in comments submitted on the proposed WOTUSrule.In the comments, NCGA strongly urged theagencies hold off on any further action on this policy through notice andcomment rulemaking pending the completion of the WOTUS rulemaking effort.