Federal regulations on remote bodies of water will hurt farmers without providing any significant improvement to water quality, an NCGA leader told the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today.
“They [EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] must not assume that achieving desired water quality outcomes means that remote water features must be made waters of the U.S.,” said Andy Jobman, chair of NCGA’s Stewardship Action Team. “The facts simply do not support this assumption as it applies to farms, conservation practices and farmland water management.”
Jobman’s remarks were made during a public meeting hosted by the EPA to hear from stakeholders on their perspectives on defining "waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act, in light of the agency’s intention to revise the definition.
During the hearing, Jobman expressed support for the goals of the Clean Water Act to restore and protect the water quality integrity of jurisdictional waters.
“Corn farmers are committed to protecting this resource for the benefit of their crops, their communities and the planet,” he said. “We sincerely wish that we were not going through another WOTUS rulemaking where this artificially drawn ‘jurisdictional line’ in our watersheds will again be hotly debated and litigated. Instead, we want to focus on working together to support our water quality protection efforts on our farms.”
The definition of WOTUS is critically important to farmers, which is why NCGA has participated in numerous rulemakings and litigation on this issue over the years.
NCGA is also a long-time member of the Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC), which represents a large cross-section of the nation’s construction, transportation, real estate, mining, manufacturing, forestry, agriculture, energy, wildlife conservation and public health and safety sectors. The Coalition’s members are committed to the protection and restoration of America’s wetlands and waters. They work collectively to advocate for clear regulation that draws bright lines between federal and state waters that will help further those goals.
NCGA is submitting recommendations individually and as a member of WAC in response to EPA’s notice soliciting pre-proposal feedback on defining WOTUS.