Posted February 3, 2015
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers issued a memorandum of understanding to withdraw the Waters of the U.S. (WPYUS) Interpretive Rule, according to a Farm Futures article available here. Hoosier Ag Today also published an article available hereand Ag Wired here.
In December, Congress requested that EPA and Army Corps withdraw the interpretive rule in its “Cromnibus” funding legislation.
The rule was intended to clarify normal farming activities exempt from the Clean Water Act, according to Hoosier Ag Today.
“Farmers have a lot of concerns about WOTUS,” said Maryland farmer Chip Bowling, president of NCGA. “What we need is clarity. The interpretive rule actually made things less clear. We hope that the withdrawal of the interpretive rule will allow us to get to the true matter at hand: how the Clean Water Act is administered.”
The National Milk Producers Federation was also pleased with the withdrawal, according to Ag Wired.
“Our concern with the initial proposal from last year is that it could have altered the long-standing and productive relationship between farmers and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, in a way that would have made it harder for farmers to implement water conservation measures,” said Jamie Jonker, NMPF’s Vice President for Sustainability & Scientific Affairs. “We’re pleased the EPA and Army have recognized that this regulation could have backfired, and that they’ve taken the necessary step to withdraw it.”
Last fall, the senators wrote that the proposal also could “fundamentally change the relationship between the Department of Agriculture and farm families” in a letter, according to Farm Futures.
The effective withdrawal date was January 29. The Waters of the U.S. proposal is still under consideration by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. The final comment period closed November 14.
For more information on the Clean Water Act, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.