NCBA Says US Agriculture Can't Afford to Lose WOTUS BattleThu, 14 Aug 2014 12:10:12 CDT
It's really a battle over a single word that lies at the heart of the Clean Water Act that was passed by Congress back in the 1970's. That single word is "navigable" and its proven to be very troublesome to a lot of regulators that want more and more control. Basically it has been an ongoing battle since the Clean Water was created in 1972, what is the extent of the federal government's authority over water?
There are have been several attempts to remove the word navigable out of the definition of the 'Clean Waters of the US'. There was a legislative effort back 10 - 12 years ago. US Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and others blocked that effort at that time. In 2014 the effort has turned to regulating it out of existence. National Cattlemen's Beef Environmental Counsel Ashley McDonald its simply a battle agriculture can't afford to lose.
"The Supreme Court has weighed in a number of times and said the US Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency have gone too far in their regulatory definition and here we are again the EPA and the Corps just trying to take more control of more water across the country, again," McDonald said. "This time they aren't even going to Congress for it, they are just doing it through regulation, which is inappropriate and there is absolutely no articulated limit to the federal government's jurisdiction if you read this proposed rule."
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm News Director Ron Hays interviewed McDonald on the impact of the proposed 'Waters of the US' proposal. You can hear their full conversation by tapping on the LISTEN BAR below. McDonald said cattle producers across this country should be outraged at this proposal and the way to fight back of course against this proposal is to send in your comments to the agencies. An easy way to submit those comments is by going to the NCBA website by clicking here. There are instruction on how to file comments directly to the Federal Register.
Besides the 'Waters of the US' proposal being commented on right now, there is a secondary rule landowners should be concerned with as well. Back in April the interpretative rule, a companion to the 'Water of the US' rule went into effect. McDonald said because it was not a notice and comment regulation or rule, it went into effect immediately when it came into the Federal Register. The government took comments on the rule after it went into effect. McDonald said NCBA along with many other organization submitted comments asking for them to withdraw this interpretative rule.
"It doesn't give farmers and ranchers anything they didn't have before," McDonald said. "Normal farming and ranching exemption included conservation practices and we would go to court to defend that position."
"Now they have said and they have narrowed it to say only 56 NRCS standards and only if you do it to those standards that's the only time you are going to get this normal farming and ranching exemption and that's completely inappropriate, because that isn't giving us anything we had before," she said.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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