Extra comment time on Clean Water guidance

Created: 6/29/11 (Wed) | Topic: Issues

The American Farm Bureau Federation welcomed the decision Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to extended the public comment period by 30 days for the draft guidance on identifying waters protected by the Clean Water Act.

“This is a complicated issue and stakeholders need more time to analyze the draft and gather their comments. It would have been better if EPA and the Corps had extended the comment period by 60 days, but this is a start,” said Don Parrish, AFBF senior director of regulatory relations.
“AFBF encourages state Farm Bureaus to submit comments because this will impact farmers and ranchers in every state,” Parrish said. “State Farm Bureaus need to emphasize to EPA and the Corps that they must not intrude by regulating any or all waters found within a state, no matter how small or seemingly unconnected to federal interests.”

The comment period was set to end July 1, but EPA and the Corps extended the deadline to July 31.This change in the public comment period will not affect the schedule for finalizing the guidance or alter the intent to proceed with a rulemaking, according to EPA and the Corps.

“AFBF is concerned that EPA will extend its reach and use the Clean Water Act to regulate even activities on dry land. This could include even ditches and ponds on farms and ranches,” Parrish said.  “Under the Clean Water Act, states have primary responsibility for establishing the goals or ‘water quality standards’ for navigable waters, and states have exclusive power to determine how and when to achieve those goals through regulatory or voluntary programs."

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