Missouri Dairy Association fears EPA's efforts to change the Clean Water Act - Cowsmo

Missouri Dairy Association fears EPA’s efforts to change the Clean Water Act

The Missouri Dairy Association and the Missouri Pork Association are among organizations that want the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to back off plans for a rule change under the Clean Water Act. Dave Drennan with the Missouri Dairy Association tells Brownfield the groups fear the agencies seek to change the definition of ‘navigable waters’ under the Clean Water Act.

“When you start considering all the ponds that we have in this state to water livestock, and also dry creek beds that most of the year are dry unless we get an overabundance of rain, which we surely could use in Southwest Missouri right now, it just seemed like this was overkill, and common sense was to pull back,” Drennan told Brownfield Ag News, “and so that’s what we’re hoping that EPA and the corps will do.”

In an earlier interview with Brownfield Ag News, the EPA’s Nancy Stoner reacted to the assertion that the rule expands regulatory reach to such land features as ditches.

“I can only say that it’s wrong,” said Stoner. “It actually, again, does not protect any new types of waters, it retains all of the existing exemptions for agriculture and for every other purpose, for that matter, and it even expands some of them.”

A total of 231 bi-partisan House members signed a letter to the EPA and Corps of Engineers asking that the rule change be abandoned. Drennan says all but two of Missouri’s House lawmakers signed the letter because of the potential expense connected with resulting regulatory changes.

“And usually farmers are the ones who bear those costs,” said Drennan, “and since agriculture is a price taker, not a price maker, we have no way of passing those costs along when there’s more regulation. So we’re very pleased with the support of our delegation.”

Stoner says the EPA is aware of the concerns and is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and USDA to address them.

Comments on the proposal are being taken until July 21st.


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