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Despite strong opposition from farm organizations to the original version of the federal government’s Clean Water Rule, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers went ahead and released updated rules on May 27. While the 1972 Clean Water Act dealt mostly with larger rivers, lakes and bays, a major worry with the new rules is that farmers may now need government permits to deal with fairly simple matters such as on-farm ditches, ponds and even puddles.
More Permits Coming? While no-tillers are conservation and environmental minded, these new rules may allow the government to dictate how you can treat that low spot in one corner of a field where no-tilled corn stands in 4 inches of water for 3 days after a midsummer rain. This power grab by Washington may be the case even though no-till has done more than any other practice to reduce water and chemical runoff. In fact, the rules are so stringent that a farmer could be in trouble each time a cow walks through a ditch.
As the Los Angeles Times recently explained, this appears to be another example of President Obama taking executive action on environmental and climate issues regardless of whether or not he has Congressional support.
Opponents argue the new rule will not only hurt farmers, but also stifle rural economic growth and violate the rights of many property owners. A major concern is that the Obama administration seems to think Washington bureaucrats know more about water quality concerns than…