(Posted Fri. Jul 18th, 2014)
The deputy administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency addressed the concerns of attendees at the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress delegate session Thursday afternoon, regarding proposed rules for the Waters of the U.S. and the 2014 volume obligation of the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“We greatly appreciate the deputy administrator’s willingness to participate in an open, well-considered conversation,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre. “While we certainly have concerns over the proposed WOTUS and interpretive rules, we hope that by working with the EPA we will be able to shape a final rule that addresses them adequately.”
Following his address to the delegation, EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe answered questions from the farmer delegates and members of the NCGA Corn Board. Stressing the interests shared by the EPA and farmers, whom he called America’s original environmentalists, Perciasepe pointed to a common need for clear air and water. He expressed the EPA’s desire to work directly with agriculture to improve both the rules clarifying the Clean Water Act and the proposed volumes under the RFS.
In his comments, Perciasepe said was confident that the EPA will be able to construct a final WOTUS rule that addresses the concerns brought forward by farmers, saying at one point: “If you didn’t need a permit then, you will not need one” after the rule becomes final.
During the question-and-answer period, growers brought forward a series of issues, including a lack of clarity under the proposed interpretive rules, the need for clearly written intent language, and the need for formalized assurances. Notably, one delegates invited the deputy administrator to visit his farm to see his practices and issues first-hand.
Additionally, Perciasepe fielded questions pertaining to critical concerns over both the reduction in volume, and the continued delays of final 2014 renewable volume obligations of the RFS.