Proposed Rule Keeps Ag Exemptions Intact

The Environmental Protection Agency released a peer-reviewed study Tuesday that reveals findings on the state of American waterways. National Farmers Union is encouraged by the study - which is entitled Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence. In its announcement - NFU President Roger Johnson says the EPA noted that agricultural activities named in the Clean Water Act remain exempt from jurisdiction or permitting. The EPA is also deferring to state laws to regulate bodies of water that are fully contained within a state and are not suitable for transportation - something Johnson says NFU supports. According to EPA - the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers submitted a proposed rulemaking clarifying the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act to the Office of Management and Budget for interagency review. They say it is limited to clarifying current uncertainty concerning the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act that has arisen as an outgrowth of recent Supreme Court decisions. The agency does not propose changes to existing regulatory exemptions and exclusions - including those that apply to the agricultural sector that ensure the continuing production of food, fiber and fuel to the benefit of all Americans. Johnson says NFU will continue to work with EPA to ensure agriculture is properly exempted from overregulation. He says the group appreciates EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy's efforts in working with USDA and agricultural organizations to ensure U.S. family farmers and ranchers aren't negatively impacted by this proposed rule.

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