Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President Mike McCormick recently submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency on “waters” that should or should not be included in the upcoming revisions to the definition of “Waters of the United States.”
In the letter, McCormick wrote, “MFBF appreciates EPA’s decision to ask the court to remand the NWPR for revision rather than asking for the rule to be vacated. We do not, however, appreciate the language and justification EPA used, especially in their press release as justification for revising the rule. EPA stated they witnessed “significant degradation” of waters since the NWPR went into effect. There simply is no evidence “significant degradation” has taken place under the most generous use of that term. EPA apparently considers a lack of jurisdiction, or the mere issuance of a permit, to justify using a term carrying a much different meaning when discussing water quality. We would have less of an issue if the agency had determined there was the “potential for significant degradation.” In essence, you have branded landowners as having committed some environmental sin simply because there are fewer jurisdictional determinations issued.”
“MFBF believes a good rule defining waters would draw a very distinct line between where federal jurisdiction ends and state jurisdiction begins. It is disingenuous to proclaim some waters are left unprotected if federal jurisdiction is somehow narrowed. Those waters are not unprotected, and each state will continue to be responsible for maintaining those water resources. In fact, they are more likely to respond to complaints from their constituents, neighbors; and friends when dealing with solely intrastate waters. If, as you· say, states are either not doing enough or do not have the resources necessary to regulate waters, then the citizenship is free to petition the local or state government to address those issues.”
To read the full letter, click here.