Thousands of farmers and more than 250 members of Congress have joined forces nationwide in opposing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to expand its regulatory authority through the Clean Water Act (CWA).
American Farm Bureau Federation has led a campaign that asks the U.S. EPA and U.S. Corps of Engineers to withdraw their proposed rule, which would expand the definition of “Waters of the United States” under the CWA and give them more jurisdiction over water- ways. “The biggest federal land grab – in terms of power over land use – that we’ve seen to date,” is how AFBF President Bob Stallman describes the proposal.
Under the proposed rule, the U.S. EPA would be able to regulate small and remote waters, many of which are only seasonally wet or only wet after a heavy rain. Farmers who aren’t already following Natural Resources Conservation Service practice standards would have to get a federal permit for common farming practices such as building a fence, applying fertilizer or pesticides to fields and clearing brush. The proposed rule exceeds current Ohio EPA regulation of intermittent and perennial waterways. Essentially anything on your property that could convey water down to a stream such as grass waterways and ditches would fall under U.S. EPA regulation.
To find out what streams are near your property and if you have anything that could connect to those streams, look at a topographical map, soil survey map or contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District representative for assistance.
The U.S. EPA is taking comments on its new rule until Oct. 20. Read more at http://ditchtherule.fb.org/.