EPA Chief Gina McCarthy Calls Concern Over WOTUS a Big MisunderstandingFri, 11 Jul 2014 07:00:53 CDT
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy calls the furor over the Waters of the US proposed rule a big misunderstanding about what the EPA is wanting to do. She claims it is all about giving farmers and ranchers certainty when it comes to being regulated or not regulated as the case may be- and that farmers and ranchers won't be regulated more aggressively under this new rule.
Speaking to an Agribusiness Roundtable in Kansas City on Thursday, McCarthy spoke of her time on the farm on Wednesday when farmers and others expressed their concerns about the rule. She told the group in Kansas City "Yesterday, we heard very clearly some of the concerns about our proposed rule. Let me clear up some of that: We heard fears that EPA is regulating groundwater. This is not true; groundwater regulations do and will fall under the purview of the states. EPA is not regulating all activities in floodplains, or every puddle, dry wash, and erosional feature. In fact, we’re doing just the opposite. If cattle cross a wet field – let them. That’s a normal farming practice, and all normal farming practices are still exempt. The bottom line is – if you didn’t need a permit before this proposed rule, you won’t need one when it’s finalized."
She also spoke about the Interpretive Rule that appears to set the Natural Resource Conservation Service up as a regulatory body that will oversee 56 approved conservation practices. She says its not a mandate, but rather a roadmap. "So let’s talk about the interpretive rule and the 56 conservation practices that are good for production and good for water quality. That rule seems to have generated lots of confusion. So, why did we want to list out those 56 practices? Those 56 are an attempt to clear the path for slam dunk conservation practices. We did not narrow exemptions; those 56 are a subset to the existing exemptions for normal farming, ranching, and silviculture. No one should have to think twice about taking advantage of these conservation practices.
"Some mistakenly think that this means additional federal standards with which to comply, but that’s wrong. Conservation practice standards are not federal regulatory standards. They just provide a roadmap for producers to make sure they’re squeezing all they can out of their practice.
"New exemptions are “self-implementing,” which means no one needs to notify or get approval from EPA or the Corps. There’s no need to double check with anyone at any time. I’m sure farmers agree that the best discussion on jurisdictional determinations is one that never needs to happen. We added 56 exemptions because we want to boost conservation without boosting bureaucracy. Is the interpretive rule the best way to do that? Let’s figure that out together. I am about outcomes, not process."
We have highlights of her speech in Kansas City- click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear audio from the Thursday speech of the Obama Administration Official in Kansas City.
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