Darby Creek

Clean Water Rule comment period open until April 15

The Environmental Protection Agency comment period on the revised definition of Waters of the United States is now open, and Farm Bureau plans to have its say on the new rule.

Ohio Farm Bureau, along with American Farm Bureau Federation and other Farm Bureaus across the country, will file comments with the EPA regarding the revised rule, said Jack Irvin, OFBF senior director of state and national policy.

“As we’ve advocated for all along, we will support a revised rule that is efficient, smart and not an overreach of authority,” Irvin said. “We want a rule that strikes a balance between the federal and state governing authorities and one that our members can embrace.”

Don Parrish, senior director of regulatory relations at AFBF, said the new rule is poised to do just that. The revised definition clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act, and the comment period allows farmers to tell the EPA how the new Clean Water Rule improves the flawed 2015 rule.

“The old rule included any feature that had a bed, bank and ordinary high-water mark,” Parrish said. “That included things that only had water in it during rainfall events. It is also very clear that wetlands need to be adjacent waters and tributaries that are Waters of the U.S. for them to be regulated, otherwise they’re isolated intrastate waters and they’re regulated at the state level. This rule clarifies all of that.”

The comment period closes April 15, 2019.

Ohio Farm Bureau membership