The American Farm Bureau’s Washington director strongly disputes EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s defense of the agency’s proposed water rule. McCarthy insisted last week before a Senate panel the agency was trying to make the new clean water rule work for farmers and that it would keep existing exemptions and add new ones. But AFBF’s Dale Moore is certainly skeptical.
“I too heard what she had said regarding that they’re not changing anything, which begs the question if one is not changing anything, why then do you need a proposed rule?”
Moore suggests the answer to that is that EPA is changing things.
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“We also have major concerns about the scope of some of these areas that, ephemeral streams, ie a stream or a flow of water that occurs after a rainstorm. We all learned in grade school a drop of water falls somewhere it will eventually make its way to the ocean, but that does not make it a navigable water of the U.S.”
But McCarthy made the startling admission in her Senate testimony last week that EPA didn’t define the jurisdiction of protecting navigable waters under the Clean Water Act to just navigable waters. She added it’s all of the streams and tributaries that can significantly impact the integrity of navigable waters. Again though, Moore disagrees.
“I appreciate her candor. I would note that at least twice before, the Supreme Court has agreed with Congress rather than EPA on that fact that there is a limit in terms of what Congress intended when they said navigable water. It did not mean all the waters of the U.S.”
He complains it’s not like these waters are not regulated. They are regulated by the states. Moore says by pushing the regulatory line farther and farther back it becomes less and less about actual water quality than it becomes about land use planning and control of what goes on the land.
Source: NAFB News Service