The National Farmers Union is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide more clarity on its proposed rule for the Clean Water Act, and how the agency defines “waters of the U.S.”

After a conference call earlier this month with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the NFU board of directors felt the discussions about the proposed rule — which defines the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act — had created less clarity, not more as was intended.

A letter from NFU President Roger Johnson to McCarthy addresses eight questions and concerns the organization has with the proposed rule — mostly regarding which bodies of water would fall under federal jurisdiction.

The American Farm Bureau Federation has also addressed its concerns with the proposal, launching a “Ditch The Rule” campaign and claiming the proposed rule, as currently written, means the EPA could “regulate even the smallest low spots that puddle often enough to meet the broad definition of ‘wetlands.’”

McCarthy responded by saying the idea that the EPA will regulate such small bodies of water is “ludicrous,” and that she wants to “ditch the myths” about the proposed rule. She visited Missouri earlier this month to meet with critics and learn about the ag industry’s concerns.

The proposed rule is currently open for public comment, and will close on Oct. 20.

Have you read the proposed rule? What concerns do you have about it? Send me an e-mail or leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Laura Allen,
Associate Editor
No-Till Farmer