Ag Policy Blog

NCBA Supports EPA Advisory Committee Recommendations on WOTUS

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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EPA's Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Advisory Committee issued a final report on recommendations for agency rules over the next few years. The group called on EPA to follow precedent and stick to regulating navigable waters. The group also stated EPA shoudl provide clear policy positions for farmers and ranchers as well. (DTN file photo)

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association is backing a report issued by EPAs Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Advisory Committee when it comes to policies related to the Clean Water Act and Waters of the United States (WOTUS).

The Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Advisory Committee (FRRCC) has 32 members from academia, agricultural producers, affiliated industries, non-governmental organizations, and state, local, and tribal governments. The group released 46-page report on January 12 detailing a final report of policy recommendations for EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

In a news release Friday, NCBA highlighted the group supports FRRCC's position on WOTUS, as well as ecosystem management systems, pesticide management, food loss and food waste. NCBA stated, "These recommendations focus on the need for clear, consistent policy positions from the EPA that account for the needs of farmers and ranchers and their individual operations."

On WOTUS, the FRRCC recommends EPA adhere to Supreme Court precedents on the Clean Water Act. The committee cited three key case that together "reinforce that Congress placed limits on the scope of federal jurisdiction under the CWA by using the term 'navigable' and recognizing, preserving and protecting the primary responsibility and rights of state over and water use and development. Any definition of WOTUS should be guided by these cases and should be limited to traditional navigable waters and territorial seas."

The committee also recommended EPA retain exclusions that are critical to farmers, ranchers and rural communities an recognize regional differences. Waters that don't fit into the jurisdictional categories in a new WOTUS rule should not be jurisdictional. The exclusions should be well defined to ensure there is not potential for misinterpretation.

EPA should also reconsider its roundtable process and keep public input to hear from all stakeholders regarding rulemaking on WOTUS.

EPA's WOTUS process was also a focus last week at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting as well. AFBF made a point to highlight the rule and AFBF's president called on farmers to make their voices known to EPA.

The full recommendations from the FRRCC to EPA can be viewed at https://www.epa.gov/…

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

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