American Farm Bureau Finds WOTUS Jurisdiction Covers Nearly All of OklahomaMon, 21 Sep 2015 15:13:58 CDT
The Water of the US rule will have a broad sweeping impact across America. American Farm Bureau developed maps for eight states, including Oklahoma to show the coverage of the Environmental Protection Agency rule. American Farm Bureau Resource Economist Veronica Nigh said the maps brought to life the expansion of federal jurisdiction reach over land use.
"For the eight states we've mapped, 97 percent of the acres in those states are within 4,000 feet of a Water of the United States and thus subject to EPA jurisdiction," Nigh said.
American Farm Bureau has mapped impact of the regulation for California, Missouri, Montana, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. In covering a wide geographic with variable terrain, Nigh said they found the WOTUS rule impacts nearly 100 percent of Virginia and Missouri, 92 percent of Wisconsin and 95 percent of Oklahoma. American Farm Bureau published the results of the impact of WOTUS in three locations in Oklahoma. This includes Payne County near Stillwater, Beaver County near Balko and Carter County near Baum, Oklahoma. Nigh said virtually all of the landscape was within jurisdiction reach of EPA. Click here to view all of the maps for Oklahoma and seven other states.
Under some of the zones, EPA has automatic jurisdiction and others would be handled on case-by-case jurisdiction. In reading of the rule, Nigh said it's nearly impossible for experts, let alone individual landowners to confidently know how land would be regulated under WOTUS. Un-permitted discharges pollutants into Waters of the US are unlawful and carry large penalties. Nigh said the government and even citizen enforcers can impose penalties for any discharge that occurred over the last five years.
"Those penalties are more $30,000 per day, so that's certainly a very large hammer that all land owners should be very concerned, if it would be applied to them," Nigh said.
The WOTUS rule went into effect on August 28th. The rule is being challenged through the court system, but only 13 states have received an injunction to block the implementation of the rule, while the rule remains in effect for the other 37 states.
Earlier this summer, the House passed a bill overturn the WOTUS rule. Now, American Farm Bureau is focused on having the legislation be brought up in the U.S. Senate to repeal this rule. American Farm Bureau believes the WOTUS rule does not match congressional intent.
Radio Oklahoma Network's Leslie Smith interviewed Veronica Nigh of American Farm Bureau. Click or tap on the LISTENBAR below to hear the interview. Above is a map of the coverage for Beaver County, Oklahoma.
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