Wednesday, December 17, 2014

EPA to finalize Clean Water Act rules by spring; agency has not considered spending bill rule

Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy said on Tuesday that the agency plans to finalize Clean Water Act rules by the spring, Philip Brasher reports for Agri-Pulse, a Washington newsletter. Congressional Republicans and farmers and ranchers have protested the rules, fearing rules will expand EPA jurisdiction.

"McCarthy said the agency hasn't decided whether to replace a separate measure, an interpretive rule that provides standards for farming practices that are exempt from the pollution law's Section 404 permitting requirements," Brasher writes. "The fiscal 2015 omnibus spending bill that cleared Congress last weekend will strike down the interpretive rule, which was opposed both by farm groups and environmentalists."

McCarthy told reporters, “I want to make sure that we listen to the agriculture community about how we provide advice in a way that it's understood and it adds value. The interpretive rule clearly didn't make that mark even though it was well intended by USDA and EPA. Congress heard that, and I heard that as well." (Read more)

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