The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers have withdrawn the Waters of the United States interpretive rule, but Colin Woodall, Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, says WOTUS still poses a threat to all of agriculture.
“What the interpretative rule was meant to do was try to lay out 56 normal farming and ranching activities, that if producers were to follow those, they would be exempt from the Waters of the United States proposal,” he said. “As we read the interpretive rule we never thought that producers were exempt and more importantly, there are more than 56 common farming and ranching activities that are done throughout this country. So it did not exempt producers, but yet it was something that the administrator was hiding behind as she continued to push forward on the Waters of the United States. So we knew that since it wasn’t real protection we needed to get rid of it, take away some of her smoke and mirrors so that way we could focus on some of the underlying rule which is still very much alive.”
Woodall says EPA and the Corps are still working to take the word navigable out of the Clean Water Act.
“It really makes every body of water, or potential body of water, and by that I mean a depression that fills with water when it rains, it makes those a Water of the United States and under the jurisdiction of the EPA and Corps of Engineers. As a producer you would have to file for a permit to be able to use that water or the land around it. it’s a huge land grab that’s going to fundamentally change the farmers and ranchers can use their land, their own private land, and we think it’s unacceptable.”
Woodall says EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has made it clear she will continue to move forward, so Congress needs to put this to an end.
Source: NAFB News Service