Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Farmers unite to limit EPA water regulations
One little word can mean so much. In relation to the Clean Water Act, that word is “navigable,” and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers are trying to get rid of it. If they succeed, EPA will have the authority to regulate nearly every drop of water, and some dry land, too. With this additional authority for EPA comes a likely deluge of regulations and permitting requirements for farmers, ranchers and other landowners. This is why the American Farm Bureau Federation has launched the “Stop the Flood of Regulation” campaign. EPA and the Corps are poised to finalize what’s known as a “guidance” document that would greatly expand EPA’s limited authority to write rules governing the protection of navigable waters. “Right now, EPA’s regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act is basically restricted to larger bodies of water and waterways that feed into those larger bodies,” explained Don Parrish, AFBF water quality specialist. “If the guidance document goes into effect, EPA officials would have the power to regulate even a roadside ditch that fills with water only after a good soaking, like Tropical Depression Debby.” Farmers, ranchers and landowners are up in arms about the guidance document for numerous reasons. The guidance document flies in the face of Supreme Court rulings that affirmed important limitations on the federal government’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. By forcing this change through a guidance document, rather than through the appropriate rule-making regulatory process, farmers and ranchers have no formal way to tell EPA how its actions will affect how they farm and ranch, or if they will be able to do it at all, once the guidance document is in place. As part of Farm Bureau’s “Stop the Flood of Regulation” campaign, farmers and ranchers are urging their senators and representatives to pass the Preserve the Waters of the U.S. Act (S. 2245 and H.R. 4965), which would prevent EPA from using the guidance document...more