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U.S. DEPARTMENTS OF AG JOIN “DITCH THE RULE” EFFORT

September 15, 2014

Mary Johnson
(334) 235-1406

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.

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