Tuesday, March 17, 2015

EPA chief promises that proposed water rules will be rewritten to be more clear about its jurisdiction

The Obama administration's proposed rules to define "waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act have caused confusion, leading to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy repeatedly trying, and mostly failing, to explain the regulations to those who might be affected by them. That has left many farmers and ranchers fearing the rules will expand EPA's jurisdiction, a claim McCarthy denies.

McCarthy said this week that the final rules, which are expected this spring, will be rewritten to be more clear and "to tighten the definitions of ditches, tributaries and farm-field erosional features to narrow what areas fall under the law's jurisdiction," Philip Brasher reports for Agri-Pulse, a Washington newsletter. "The final rule will be accompanied by extensive guidance in a question-and-answer format that will include photographs to make it easier for farmers to understand what areas of their land might be regulated, she said."

McCarthy said "the administration had bungled the rollout of the rule and should have called it the 'Clean Water rule' rather than WOTUS," Brasher writes. "She said the definition of tributary would be made clear that the rule would only cover 'natural or constructed streams, the ones that could carry pollution downstream-which have to have the amount, duration and frequency of flow to look, act, and function like a tributary. They are the ones that we don't want to pollute or destroy without thinking about how to mitigate impacts downstream.'” (Read more)

No comments: