Friday, October 14, 2016

EPA Expands Power by Calling Farm Furrows 'Mini Mountains'

EPA Expands Power by Calling Farm Furrows 'Mini Mountains' [Michigan Capitol Confidential]: "When farmers plow their land, it produces grooves called "furrows," bordered by small ridges of dirt.
But in pursuit of new regulatory powers, federal agencies refer to the little dirt mounds by another term: “mini mountain ranges.” 
That seemingly absurd distinction is being used to impose more federal control over private land use decisions made by U.S. farmers.
...The rule, called “Waters of the United States,” uses the Clean Water Act to give both federal agencies expanded jurisdiction over private land use decisions.
...The rule would allow puddles, tire ruts and standing water to be labeled “disturbed wetlands” and regulated under the Clean Water Act.
The Senate committee report states the rule would allow EPA to get around legal limits to its authority over ditches, draws, low areas, or other wet areas by simply calling them a “regulated tributary” or “wetland.”
The report concludes that if the EPA and Corps interpretations were allowed, “most if not all plowing” would be considered a “discharge of a pollutant” and require a federal permit.
...“The Corps even tries to argue that these newly created small mountain ranges hamper the growth and development of wetland plant species, apparently ignoring the fact that farmlands are managed to produce crops, not cattails,” Hayes said in an email...”

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