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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 adds risk and uncertainty to clean water rules

EPA adds risk and uncertainty to clean water rules

By Mike Barnett

Environmental Protection Agency. EPA. I think a name change is due. Extremely Pugnacious Agency.

EPA recently released its final “Waters of the U.S.” rule. After months of debate, thousands of comments from farmers and ranchers—including 1,200 from Texas—and clear direction from both Congress and the courts, EPA did what it wanted to do. The final rule, according to an American Farm Bureau Federation analysis, will give EPA new powers to regulate farmers, ranchers and other businesses.

How did we get here?

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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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Growing five generations of sustainability

Growing five generations of sustainability

By Colin and Laura Chopelas

Every week, it seems there is a new fad or breaking news story on television or the internet.  What happens in the rest of the world can instantly be news in America. The words of our politicians can move commodities or stock markets thousands of miles away.  Some of these issues can inadvertently undermine the hard work and long hours that every American farming family endures daily.

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Federal stay prevents flight of Texas water rights

Federal stay prevents flight of Texas water rights

By Regan Beck

We know that Texas water is a precious resource. We’ve watched our pastures dry up and crops wither following the epic drought we’ve just endured (and continue to see, in many parts of the state). But one U.S. District Court judge wants to restrict our water even more.

U.S. District Court Judge Janis Graham Jack recently sided with an environmental group in its case against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the San Antonio River Authority, the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority and the Texas Chemical Council. The case accuses the agencies of water management practices that led to the deaths of 23 whooping cranes.

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