House panel takes aim at EPA Waters of U.S. plan
June 23, 2014, Washington, DC – Members of a House Agriculture subcommittee from both parties had a heated exchange recently with a top USDA official over the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal for defining exactly what falls under the agency’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
In the hot seat was Robert Bonnie, the USDA’s under secretary for natural resources and environment. He told lawmakers that an “interpretive rule” on farming and ranching exemptions under the CWA, issued at the same time as the EPA proposal to define “Waters of the U.S.,” ensures that 56 specific agricultural conservation practices, executed under the standards of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, would not be subject to CWA dredged or fill permitting requirements. READ MORE