Last week, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy fired back at the agriculture industry regarding the newly proposed rules under the Clean Water Act. McCarthy called farmers’ concerns “ludicrous” and attempted to defend the rule.
(You can read my full description of the proposed rule here.)
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Environmental Counsel Ashley McDonald fully responded to McCarthy’s statements and explained why farmers’ concerns are not “ludicrous.”
McCARTHY: “Before I get into what we are doing on the trip, let me remind everyone why we are actually moving forward with this rule. Our proposal actually aims to ensure waters that are vital to human health and natural resources that we rely on, all of us, are actually protected from pollution.”
MCDONALD: Your statement here implies that you are seeking to bring under EPA’s purview more waters that are not currently regulated, or how you put it, “protected.” But this contradicts repeated statements by you and other EPA officials that this proposal does not expand the reach of the Clean Water Act and does not federalize any new waters. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot “protect” more water without expanding the Clean Water Act. Secondly, your new definition fails to recognize that these “new” waters for which you seek federal protection, are already under the jurisdiction of the states in which they reside. THEY ARE NOT WHOLLY UNREGULATED as you seem to represent. There is a rightful legal place where federal authority ends and state authority begins. Your proposal utterly and intentionally fails to recognize any sort of federal-state boundary.
You can finish reading McDonald’s response here.
Overall, it seems like our message isn’t even being considered by the EPA, especially not when they call our legitimate concerns “ludicrous.” It is precisely this mistrust of the agency that pulled us into this topic and McCarthy’s statement did nothing to improve it. So, for now, it seems the good fight will continue.
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