Food and Farm Radio…The EPA and WOTUS

Ray Bowman of the Food and Farm Radio Show hosted me today on the mid-day broadcast.  The recently released EPA rules provided the topic of conversation.  EPA Administrator McCarthy held a telephone press conference earlier this week to further explain both the proposed WOTUS rule and the recently implemented interpretive rule.  Ray and I discussed the information shared in the conference call as well as the consequences of the rules themselves.

lakesunset.jpg

The broadcast runs for 13 minutes and you can click here if you would like to listen to it.  Otherwise, I hope that your weekend is filled with peaceful sunsets like this one that I snapped a picture of last weekend!

5 Comments

Filed under Feed Yard Foodie "In The News"

5 responses to “Food and Farm Radio…The EPA and WOTUS

  1. cara

    I haven’t had time to see your interview yet but just got the following in the mail and thought it relevant:
    http://www.iowafarmertoday.com/news/crop/with-confusion-over-waters-of-the-u-s-rule-epa/article_c5abe362-077e-11e4-a322-001a4bcf887a.html

    It’s by N. Stoner of the EPA..here is the text in case the link doesn’t work.

    “With confusion over ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule, EPA tries to set the record straight”

    There’s been some confusion about EPA’s proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule under the Clean Water Act, especially in the agriculture community, and we want to make sure you know the facts.

    We know we haven’t had the best relationship with the agriculture industry in the past, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do better.

    We are committed to listening to farmers and ranchers and in fact, our proposed rule takes their feedback into account.

    The rule keeps intact all Clean Water Act exemptions and exclusions for agriculture that farmers count on.

    But, it does more for farmers by actually expanding those exemptions.

    We worked with NRCS and the Army Corps of Engineers to exempt 56 additional conservation practices.

    These practices are familiar to many farmers, who know their benefits to business, the land and water resources.

    Farmers and ranchers are on the land every day, and they are our nation’s original conservationists.

    The American agriculture economy is the envy of the world, and today’s farmers and ranchers are global business professionals — relying on up-to-the minute science to make decisions about when to plant, fertilize and irrigate crops.

    Both the EPA and farmers make decisions based on facts — so here are the facts about the EPA’s proposal.

    When Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, it didn’t just defend the mighty Mississippi River or our Great Lakes; it also protected the smaller streams and wetlands that weave together a vast, interconnected system.

    It recognized healthy families and farms downstream depend on healthy headwaters upstream.

    But, two Supreme Court cases over the past 15 years confused things, making it unclear which waters are “in,” and which are “out.”

    That confusion added red tape, time and expense to the permitting process under the Clean Water Act. The Corps had to make case-by-case decisions about which waters were protected, and decisions in different parts of the country became inconsistent.

    EPA’s proposal will bring clarity and consistency to the process, cutting red tape and saving money.

    The proposed Waters of the U.S. rule does not regulate new types of ditches, does not regulate activities on land and does not apply to groundwater.

    The proposal does not change the permitting exemption for stock ponds, does not require permits for normal farming activities like moving cattle and does not regulate puddles.

    The EPA’s goals align with those of farmers: Clean water fuels agriculture — and we all depend on the food, fuel and fiber our farmers produce.

    We at the EPA welcome input on the proposed rule to make sure we get it right.

    Here are clarifications on a few points of confusion about the proposed rule. For further information, check out http://tinyurl.com/mbnouoc.

    The EPA and the Corps are NOT going to have greater power over water on farms and ranches.
    The Clean Water Act and its regulations have multiple exclusions and exemptions from jurisdiction and permit requirements. The proposed rule does not change or limit any of them.
    The agencies also worked with the USDA to develop and publish through an interpretive rule, a list of NRCS agricultural conservation practices that will not be subject to Clean Water Act permitting requirements.
    These practices encourage conservation while protecting and improving water quality. The proposed rule will NOT bring all ditches on farms under federal jurisdiction.

    Some ditches have been regulated under the Clean Water Act since the 1970s.
    The proposed rule does not expand jurisdiction.
    For the first time, the agencies are clarifying all ditches constructed in dry lands and drain only dry lands are not “waters of the U.S.” This includes roadside ditches and ditches collecting runoff or drainage from crop fields.
    Ditches that are IN are generally those that are essentially human-altered streams, which feed the health and quality of larger downstream waters.
    The agencies have always regulated these types of ditches.
    Ditches that are OUT are those dug in dry lands and don’t flow all the time or don’t flow into a jurisdictional water.
    Farmers, ranchers and foresters are exempt from Clean Water Act Section 404 permitting requirements when they construct and maintain those ditches, even if ditches are jurisdictional. The proposed rule does NOT mean permits are needed for walking cows across a wet field or stream.
    Normal farming and ranching activities are not regulated under the Clean Water Act.
    The proposed rule will NOT apply to wet areas on fields or erosional features on fields.
    Water-filled areas on crop fields are not jurisdictional.
    The proposal specifically excludes erosional features from being “waters of the U.S.”
    The EPA is NOT taking control of ponds in the middle of the farm.

    The proposed rule does not change jurisdiction over farm ponds.
    The rule does not affect the existing exemption Congress created for construction and maintenance of farm or stock ponds.
    The proposed rule would for the first time specifically exclude stock-watering ponds from jurisdiction.
    Nancy Stoner is EPA acting assistant administrator for water.

    • Hi Cara,

      I apologize that this comment was so slow coming up. WordPress flagged it for some reason, and I had to figure out how to “approve” it so that it would come up. I haven’t ever had that happen before — sorry it took me so long to take care of the glitch.

      I think that if you listen to my comments, I address a few of the problems that I have with the above comments made by EPA. The biggest problem with what is stated above is that “intent” of the agency when a rule is drafted does not determine the future of regulation. When a farm is regulated, it is the words that are written in the rule that determine the power of the agency and the items that are about to be regulated. It is the “words on the paper” that matter. I believe that the wording of the proposed rule will open up EPA’s reach expansively and enables them in the future to do the vast majority of the things listed above — whether or not the current EPA intends that to be the case is irrelevant. If the words in the rule do not match the EPA’s intent, then they need to be changed. Ms. Stoner needs to address this and get the discrepencies between “intent” and “wording” changed.

      Thanks for sharing,
      Anne

  2. Hubby and I look forward to listening to the broadcast 🙂 Have a blessed weekend 🙂
    -Kim

    • Hope that you got something out of it, Kim, and it was informative.

      We had a great weekend with an awesome swim meet and beautiful weather. Hope that you had good weather too 🙂

      Swim team championships are next weekend and I head to Aimes, Iowa for a quick trip on Wednesday/Thursday to speak at an animal welfare symposium so my life is a bit crazy this week…We also have about 350 new cattle coming into the feed yard–I’m not sure that there will be enough daylight hours to get everything done this week but it’ll be a fun one 🙂

      Best,
      Anne

      • If I know anything about you… things will get done 🙂 I wish you safe travels and best of luck at your swim meet championships 🙂 I look forward to hearing about the new cows and your trip 🙂

        We are busy as usual and all these storms this week are really wrecking havoc on our place. The chickens are NOT happy campers with the lightening, thunder, and all the rain that floods things. We are just trying to keep up with all the projects and now a new one as we were asked to repair/paint/fix our church sign so we have a busy week ahead as well. I am glad it’s summer so we do get those few extra hours of sun light to be outside when it isn’t as humid.

        Blessings,
        Kim

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