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A farmer’s view of the Clean Water Act

A farmer’s view of the Clean Water Act

By Russell Boening
TFB President

As a fourth generation farmer in South Texas, you could say that I make my living with water. My crops will not grow without it. Our dairy cows will not give milk without enough fresh, clean water.

I use what we call “best management practices,” meaning that we comply with label directions, use conservation methods and other tools of modern agriculture. We also plant biotech crops. That means we use fewer and smaller amounts of chemicals than we needed two decades ago.

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5 things you should know about the EPA WOTUS rule

5 things you should know about the EPA WOTUS rule

By Mike Barnett

$37,500. Per incident. Per day. Per violation.

Does that grab your attention? It should.

That’s what you could be fined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if you have an unauthorized discharge of “pollutants” from your farmland that requires a Clean Water Act (CWA) permit. It’s all part of the new rule recently issued by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers defining waters of the U.S. (WOTUS). It expands the federal CWA jurisdiction over many landscape features found on farm, ranch and forest lands across the nation. The rule is expected to go into effect Aug. 28.

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EPA rule withdrawal only a tiny step

EPA rule withdrawal only a tiny step

By Gene Hall

Some agencies of the federal government have learned that a “carrot and stick” approach often works. Proposed changes in the Clean Water Act by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) amount to “stick and bigger stick.”

Sometimes you see the “carrot” in enforcement of the Endangered Species Act. Things like Safe Harbor and habitat mitigation mean having a species does not force landowners out of business. Then, other things become possible.

The EPA will move forward with a vast expansion of the agency’s regulatory power with changes in the Clean Water Act. Perhaps as an olive branch, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently announced the withdrawal of their waters of the U.S. “interpretive rule.”

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U.S. House moves to block EPA water rule

U.S. House moves to block EPA water rule

By Gene Hall

All fans of property rights and reasonable environmental regulation can cheer at a recent vote in the U.S. House. This week, by a vote of 262-152, the House voted to gut a proposed EPA rule to change the Clean Water Act (CWA.)

The CWA has always given EPA the authority to regulate the navigable waters of the U.S. Once this ill-advised rule is implemented, navigable means mud puddles, ditches and places that aren’t wet most of the time—like a “low spot” in a farmer’s field. That means every foot of ground and drop of water in the U.S. That means aggressive fines of many thousands of dollars a day. It also means lengthy and costly permit fights with regulators who may not care if your crop is at risk.

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Time to ditch the rule before EPA ditches you

Time to ditch the rule before EPA ditches you

By Mike Barnett

It looks like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to flood agriculture into submission with its revisions of the Clean Water Act.

This map, developed by the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and updated for EPA, shows locations and flow patterns of waterways in Texas.

At first glance, it looks innocent enough. Where it gets problematic is how it could be used.

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‘Mega-farming’ contaminates Toledo water supply: not exactly

‘Mega-farming’ contaminates Toledo water supply: not exactly

By Jay Bragg

Recently, 500,000 residents of Toledo, Ohio were without drinking water due to dangerously high levels of cyanotoxin in Lake Erie, produced by excessive amounts of blue-green algae.  National news outlets were quick to point their fingers at agriculture, picking up on the talking points of local politicians, activist groups, and pseudo-scientists.

Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins was quoted by the Los Angeles Times: “Once we clear this problem up, that is not going to eliminate the algae problem in the western basin of Lake Erie; that is not going to eliminate the agricultural runoff; that is not going to eliminate mega-farming.”

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