The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has joined the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and other partners in opposing proposed legislation that could expand federal regulatory reach of the Clean Water Act and take away the power of states over land and water use.
The legislation, the Clean Water Authority Restoration Act (CWARA), is expected to be introduced in the next few weeks. It would grant the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers federal authority over all “instate waters,” and fails to clarify any limits on federal authority.
“As part of the Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC), we are committed to the protection and restoration of America’s wetlands resources,” noted NCGA President Ken McCauley. “However, we do not believe it is in the nation’s interest to regulate ditches, culverts and pipes, desert washes, dry arroyos, farmland and treatment ponds as ‘waters of the United States’ and therefore subject such waters to all of the requirements of federal regulation.”
In a letter to Congress, WAC detailed how the proposed, unprecedented regulatory increase would result in permitting delays and increased costs including impeding a host of economic and governmental activities, commercial and residential real estate development, agricultural production, paper production, electric transmission, transportation, and energy and mineral production. “Currently, American agriculture is appropriately regulated by the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and state laws that protect the environment,” noted McCauley. “This proposed legislation goes well beyond the existing regulatory limitations authorized by both Democratic and Republican administrations which allowed for commonsense uses such as prior converted cropland and waste treatment systems.”