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CCFB News» April 2019

Members Comment on Proposed Clean Water Act

04/02/2019 @ 9:00 pm | By Mike Rauch

 

Cook County Farm Bureau® Vice-President Mike Rauch sent the following letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding revisions to the “Waters of the United States” rule:

 

I am a farmer in Cook County, Illinois. I am writing to submit comments to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) in support of the proposal for the revised definition of “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.

 

It is time for clear rules that protect both the nation’s water bodies and farmers’ ability to produce food, fiber and fuel. This proposed rule would have the ability to end years of uncertainty over where the jurisdiction of EPA and the Corps begins and ends. We need a new common-sense water rule that protects water quality and gives me clear rules I can follow. This new proposed rule would ensure that I don’t need a team of lawyers or consultants to tell me what is, and what is not, regulated by EPA and the Corps.  The 2015 rule, by contrast, provided none of the clarity and certainty it promised. Instead, the rules gave EPA and the Corps virtually unlimited authority to regulate, at their discretion, “navigable” waters.

 

The 2015 proposed rule would have significantly expanded the scope of navigable waters subject to the Clean Water Act’s jurisdiction by regulating small and remote waters, many of which are not even wet or considered waters under any common understanding of the word.  Perhaps the best example of the proposed rule’s overreach is the regulation of ephemeral streams, which only contain water during major storm events. 

 

I farm for a living.  All of my farms have ditches, wetter areas, or creeks nearby them.  For me to have to receive permission to fix drainage tiles, mow ditches, and clean creeks is ridiculous.  The paperwork alone would be a horrendous waste of my time, effort, and money.

 

I strongly welcome the proposed rule as it protects water resources, respects the law and provides greater clarity so the agencies, farmers and the public can identify regulated federal waterways.

 

Members are encouraged to add their support of the proposed changes by texting “WATERS” to 52886.