U.S. DEPARTMENTS OF AG JOIN “DITCH THE RULE” EFFORT
September 15, 2014
The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) is calling for the withdrawal of the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The NASDA vote at its annual meeting Sept. 12 was the latest in a string of governmental groups and elected representatives pushing for withdrawal of the WOTUS proposal.
On Sept. 9, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 262-152 in favor of H.R. 5078, which would prohibit the EPA from adopting the rule. Alabama U.S. Reps. Bradley Byrne and Martha Roby have released statements praising the vote.
The proposal seeks to change the way the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) definition of “Waters of the United States” is interpreted. Under the proposed rule, the EPA could regulate areas where water flows intermittently, such as ditches that only hold water after a heavy rain.
This would open the door for the EPA to require costly permits for everyday farm activities for everything from applying fertilizer to cutting trees.
Alabama has 30,170 miles of intermittent streams and 32 miles of ditches and canals.
The American Farm Bureau Federation recently released a study on 17 states and the possible increase in regulated area under the WOTUS proposal. In the studied states, an additional 1.6 million stream miles could be regulated. Increases ranged from 35 percent in Pennsylvania to 311 percent in Indiana.
Comments on the rule will be accepted through Oct. 20. Click here to send comments opposing the proposed rule through the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Legislative Action Center. Go to ditchtherule.fb.org for more information.
- Oct. 20 — Comment deadline on EPA’s WOTUS rule.
- Sept. 14 — U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama, releases article opposing EPA’s proposed rule.
- Sept. 12 — NASDA votes to call for the rule’s withdrawal at the group’s annual meeting.
- Sept. 9 — U.S. House of Representatives passes H.R. 5078 in a 262-152 vote. The resolution would prohibit the EPA from adopting the WOTUS proposal. U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Alabama, releases statement praising passage of H.R. 5078.
- Aug. 27 — U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Committee On Science, Space and Technology releases EPA maps of waters and wetlands in all states.
- July 10 — Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries John McMillan submits comments to the EPA’s Local Government Advisory Committee meeting in Atlanta.
- May 1 — Alabama’s seven U.S. representatives join a bipartisan group of 231 congressmen in sending the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a letter asking that the proposed rule be withdrawn.
- April 9 — U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, along with seven other Republicans on the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, sends President Barack Obama a letter detailing concerns with the proposed WOTUS rule.