Cattlemen’s Corner: Clean Water Act | TSLN.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Cattlemen’s Corner: Clean Water Act

For the May 7, 2011 edition of Tri-State Livestock News.

Buy Photo

With the amount of rain we’ve had this spring, it seems only fitting to address the recent “guidance” that will greatly expand federal jurisdiction over water.

In late April, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Amy Corps of Engineers released a draft guidance document that will be sent to agency field staff, instructing them on how to determine whether a body of water falls under the federal Clean Water Act’s (CWA) regulatory jurisdiction. The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association (SDCA) strongly opposes the draft guidance, as it dramatically expands the regulatory authority of the EPA and Corps of Engineers.

Previously, two Supreme Court decisions had limited the authority of the EPA and Corps under the CWA. Ashley Lyon, NCBA Deputy Environmental Counsel, commented that “through vague definitions and broad interpretations laid out in the newly released draft guidance, EPA and the Corps have once again shown little regard for the practical implications of their actions or Congress’ intentions under the Clean Water Act.” It’s noteworthy that similar proposals have been introduced as legislation in past Congressional sessions, but have not gained traction or support for passage. Even with a letter signed by 170 members of Congress opposing the guidance, it seems as though the EPA and Corps have declared themselves victorious and given themselves control over every body of water in the country. This makes the draft guidance even more alarming – as the current administration has once again acted unilaterally rather than implementing laws as intended by Congress and required under the U.S. Constitution.

Knowing that guidance documents are normally reviewed and signed off on by all federal agencies with an interest in it, Lyon also commented that she is surprised that Secretary of Ag Tom Vilsack would allow this to go through the review process, given its potential impact on America’s farmers and ranchers.

So what does this mean for us? The EPA and Corps are essentially snatching control of almost every body of water in the country, including your stock dams, slews, and possibly even a ditch full of water. How about that spot on your place that only has a stream running through it when there’s a lot of rain in the spring? Sorry folks, that counts too. While this guidance claims to provide clarity and certainty to landowners, the only thing we can all be certain of is that any stream, pond, or ditch on our land could be subject to federal regulation if this guidance is adopted.

SDCA and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association will continue to fight against the administration’s efforts on this guidance. As conservationists, we understand the importance of clean and healthy waterways, but it’s important that everyone agree on a way to accomplish this. The draft guidance appears to be a direct hit on our private property rights – the last thing we need is more regulation!

The EPA and Corps will take comments on the guidance for 60 days as soon as it’s published in the Federal Register, due shortly. Please take the time to submit your comments, which can be done at http://water.epa.gov.

Best of luck with the rest of planting season!

With the amount of rain we’ve had this spring, it seems only fitting to address the recent “guidance” that will greatly expand federal jurisdiction over water.

In late April, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Amy Corps of Engineers released a draft guidance document that will be sent to agency field staff, instructing them on how to determine whether a body of water falls under the federal Clean Water Act’s (CWA) regulatory jurisdiction. The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association (SDCA) strongly opposes the draft guidance, as it dramatically expands the regulatory authority of the EPA and Corps of Engineers.

Previously, two Supreme Court decisions had limited the authority of the EPA and Corps under the CWA. Ashley Lyon, NCBA Deputy Environmental Counsel, commented that “through vague definitions and broad interpretations laid out in the newly released draft guidance, EPA and the Corps have once again shown little regard for the practical implications of their actions or Congress’ intentions under the Clean Water Act.” It’s noteworthy that similar proposals have been introduced as legislation in past Congressional sessions, but have not gained traction or support for passage. Even with a letter signed by 170 members of Congress opposing the guidance, it seems as though the EPA and Corps have declared themselves victorious and given themselves control over every body of water in the country. This makes the draft guidance even more alarming – as the current administration has once again acted unilaterally rather than implementing laws as intended by Congress and required under the U.S. Constitution.

Knowing that guidance documents are normally reviewed and signed off on by all federal agencies with an interest in it, Lyon also commented that she is surprised that Secretary of Ag Tom Vilsack would allow this to go through the review process, given its potential impact on America’s farmers and ranchers.

So what does this mean for us? The EPA and Corps are essentially snatching control of almost every body of water in the country, including your stock dams, slews, and possibly even a ditch full of water. How about that spot on your place that only has a stream running through it when there’s a lot of rain in the spring? Sorry folks, that counts too. While this guidance claims to provide clarity and certainty to landowners, the only thing we can all be certain of is that any stream, pond, or ditch on our land could be subject to federal regulation if this guidance is adopted.

SDCA and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association will continue to fight against the administration’s efforts on this guidance. As conservationists, we understand the importance of clean and healthy waterways, but it’s important that everyone agree on a way to accomplish this. The draft guidance appears to be a direct hit on our private property rights – the last thing we need is more regulation!

The EPA and Corps will take comments on the guidance for 60 days as soon as it’s published in the Federal Register, due shortly. Please take the time to submit your comments, which can be done at http://water.epa.gov.

Best of luck with the rest of planting season!


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User