NCBA Not Backing Down From 'WOTUS' ProposalMon, 20 Oct 2014 11:22:50 CDT
Today was supposed to be the deadline for submitting comments to the Environmental Protection Agency over their 'Waters of the US' proposed rule as well as the US Army Corps of Engineers. For the second time the comment period has been extended until November 14th. This allows more time for the government agencies to finalize and release their report on connectivity of streams and wetlands. EPA has sited this report many times in the 'WOTUS' proposed rule and have sited the report in justifying the expansion of regulation by EPA through the Clean Water Act. According to National Cattlemen's Beef Association Environmental Counsel Ashley McDonald this is a longterm battle that agriculture has been fighting EPA over the expansion of regulation and control through this 42 year old law. She said the biggest unknown with the proposal is the extent of the federal government's authority over water.
"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.
The comment period has been extended for an additional 25 days until November 14th. One way to submit comments is by going to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association website by clicking here.
EPA continues talk about their is no expansion of authority over agriculture in this proposal. McDonald said that's not really true.
"EPA and the Corps (of Engineers) and mostly EPA have said a lot of things recently, they are really in this heated PR Campaign mode about selling this proposed rule and they are saying that it does a lot of things based on their intent," McDonald said. "Unfortunately their intent doesn't matter, what matters of course are the words on paper. And if you read the language broadly, which is what an environmental activist or somebody else will do eventually in court their is no limit to federal jurisdiction and they can claim jurisdiction over every ditch, every pond, every puddle if they want to. That's the problem of course that we have and EPA of course is out there saying their intent wasn't to do that. Thanks, but put it in writing. That's what we're telling the agency at this point. You've got to put these things in writing and you can't claim it was not your intent to do this things."
It's rare to see a government agency widely promoting a view point on a proposal. McDonald said that she hasn't seen an effort being pushed as aggressively by a federal agency as this one. She said EPA is traveling around the country trying to convince farmers and ranchers that this rule will not effect them. McDonald said their message is focusing on the intent of the proposed rule.
"They don't think it should impact anybody, but unfortunately that's not good enough for us in agriculture," McDonald 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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