As farm interests line up against water regs, EPA officials begin the hard sell

 

McClatchy Washington Bureau

The Environmental Protection Agency, admitting that “we haven’t had the best relationship with the agriculture industry in the past,” is beginning a push for a proposed new water rule that has generated strong opposition from farm communities.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will be in Missouri Wednesday and Thursday to talk up the rule with farmers and agribusiness leaders. Included will be a farm visit in Rocheport, Mo., on Wednesday, and a speech on Thursday at the Kansas City Agribusiness Council Luncheon.

Republican lawmakers in both houses of Congress are pushing back against the proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule, saying it oversteps federal authority and would bring routine farm practices under the purview of government regulators. In the Senate, Sen. Pat Roberts is one of more than 30 senators to co-sponsor legislation to prevent the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers from finalizing the rule.

Roberts said that multiple groups in his state -- associations ranging from producers of soybeans, wheat and pork, to superintendents of golf courses -- oppose the rule. Nationally, the American Farm Bureau Federation is against it.

The EPA is pushing back against the push-back, saying the proposed rule doesn’t come close to doing what its opponents allege. The EPA said the rule is designed to clarify and formalize which bodies of water are covered by the Clean Water Act, which has morphed over the years because of decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a blog post Monday, a top EPA official laid out what the rule would and wouldn’t do:

“So EPA and the Corps are bringing clarity and consistency to the process, cutting red tape and saving money. The proposed Waters of the U.S. rule does not regulate new types of ditches, does not regulate activities on land, and does not apply to groundwater. The proposal does not change the exemption for stock ponds, does not require permits for normal farming activities like moving cattle, and does not regulate puddles.”

Read more National Business stories from the Miami Herald

  • St. Francis Medical Center CEO to retire

    The president and chief executive of Monroe's St. Francis Medical Center since 2008 is retiring effective Aug. 1

  • 4 more Michigan cities get Uber ridesharing

    A California company that uses mobile application software to link people needing transportation in Ann Arbor and the Detroit area to drivers is expanding to several other Michigan cities.

  • Varying health premium subsidies worry consumers

    Linda Close was grateful to learn she qualified for a sizable subsidy to help pay for her health insurance under the new federal law. But in the process of signing up for a plan, Close said her HealthCare.gov account showed several different subsidy amounts, varying as much as $180.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category