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Agricultural News

Cattlemen Commend EPA's Proposed Rule to Revise the Definition of a Waters of the United States

Wed, 17 Apr 2019 14:39:03 CDT

Cattlemen Commend EPA's Proposed Rule to Revise the Definition of a Waters of the United States The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Public Lands Council (PLC), and several other affiliated organizations, submitted comments to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) regarding their perceived impact of the proposed rule to revise the definition of “Waters of the United States”, as applied under the Clean Water Act (the Revised Definition).

In the letter sent to these agencies, NCBA and PLC commended the work that has been done by EPA and the Army Corps following President Trump’s Executive Order 13778. The letter stated that “America’s cattlemen need an easy-to-understand ‘Waters of the United States’ (WOTUS) definition that allows for straightforward implementation, and the Agencies have taken significant strides toward achieving this goal.”

According to the letter, The Clean Water Act (CWA or the Act) impacts all segments of the beef supply chain.

“Ranchers across the country send their cattle to graze on pastures or rangeland with ephemeral streambeds and water their cattle using stock ponds. Animal feeding operations are frequently permitted under the CWA as point sources and integrate waste treatment systems to effectively manage manure. Most American cattle producers are multi-generational, having dealt with every iteration of CWA jurisdiction since its passage in 1972,” the letter reads. “After nearly 50 years of jurisdictional tug-of-war between the Supreme Court and the Agencies, regulated stakeholders want nothing more than consistency in the Act’s application. In the final rule, cattle producers need a practical and interpretable WOTUS definition.”

The NCBA and PLC add that they generally support the Revised Definition that has been proposed and offered specific recommendations to further improve the rule.

While the associations commend EPA and the Army Corps for closely following the Congressional intent of the CWA and subsequent Supreme Court decisions by excluding ephemeral features from jurisdiction and tailoring federal wetlands jurisdiction - they urge the agencies to provide greater clarity to regulated stakeholders by making two modifications to the Revised Definition that they say will significantly increase the final rule’s on-the-ground effectiveness. NCBA and PLC ask that the Agencies eliminate the “certain ditches” category of jurisdictional waters from the final rule and refine the “intermittent” definition. These key sections, the groups say, are the linchpin of the Revised Definition’s long-term success.

NCBA is the nation’s largest and oldest trade association representing American cattle producers, with over 25,000 direct members and 44 state affiliate associations. PLC is the only national trade association that represents the over 22,000 western ranchers who hold federal grazing permits and operate on federal public lands.

You can read the complete comments submitted by these groups, by clicking or tapping the link below.


Source - The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association



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