The Waters of the U.S. regulations, enforced under the Obama administration, have been withdrawn; but the EPA has been slow to come up with a new rule regulating the water on U.S. farms. The EPA has finally proposed a new definition of what water is covered by the Clear Water Act and is, thus, under the jurisdiction of the government. Don Parrish, American Farm Bureau Federation senior director of regulatory relations, says the new clarification by the EPA is a step toward commonsense regulation.
“This clarification hopefully brings a lot of common sense to the definition of what is in the federal government’s ability to regulate. A common sense definition we think will do two things, provide an opportunity for the nation to have clean water, but also provide clear rules that farmers need in order to operate their farms.”
Parrish says the proposal is an improvement over the current rule, “We want a farmer and rancher to be able to walk out on his property and understand where the Clean Water Act rule applies. In the last proposal it was so broad and so vague that only the federal government, or an army of lawyers and probably a legion of consultants could ultimately tell a farmer where on their farm the Clean Water Act had jurisdiction.”
The proposed rule is currently in the public comment period. Parish urges farmers to make their voices heard, “Go to our website, fb.org. At the very top of that website, you can click and you can submit comments to the federal government. Every comment counts. Making sure that federal government hears from farmers and ranchers, hear what our concerns are, is critically important.” The comment period closes April 15.