By Mike Barnett
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) attempt to clarify the Clean Water Act (CWA) is muddying the water for farmers and ranchers in Texas and across the U.S.
That’s not much of a surprise knowing EPA’s history, but their new proposed rule could be bad news for your land use decisions and farming practices.
The CWA was established to give EPA and the Corps the authority to regulate navigable waters, such as interstate rivers. The law calls these “waters of the U.S.” State and local governments have jurisdiction over smaller, more remote waters, such as ponds and isolated wetlands, because state and local governments are more accountable to their citizens.
The new “waters of the U.S.” proposed rule is a broad expansion of the types of waters and lands that would be subject to federal permit requirements and gives the government more control over what you do.
For example, under the new rule, EPA could require you to obtain a federal permit to build a fence across a ditch, apply fertilizer and pesticides or pull weeds.
That’s not readily apparent. Unless you interpret the fine print.
EPA claims the rule will have minimal impact. In fact, they are trying to regulate virtually all water.
“Trust me, I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
That ploy doesn’t work in farmland, EPA.
It’s time to ditch this rule.