EPA’s Water Rule In Over Its Head [Opinion]

Adam Putnam 2012 head shot for FLGDespite the federal government’s long history of egregious overreach and land grabs, it recently outdid itself.
In April, EPA released proposed rules that have the potential to slow — if not reverse — America’s fragile economic recovery. The proposed rules redefine the term “water” in the Clean Water Act, fundamentally changing the intent of the act while dramatically expanding EPA’s jurisdiction and control over untold bodies of water in the U.S. and subjecting them to further regulation.

Previously, the definition of water was generally defined as navigable waters and waters closely associated with them. These waters were important for commerce and transportation of America’s goods and people. The new definition of water, however, removes “navigable” and adds “other waters” that may have a “significant nexus” to waters already under EPA’s jurisdiction. In addition, the proposed definition includes terms which would expand federal jurisdiction to isolated wetlands far removed from any navigable water and even captures many shallow ditches and ponds that only occasionally hold any water at all.

Dreading A Deluge

As you can imagine, with our unique topography and hydrological makeup, Florida stands to suffer more than any other state by this expansion of federal government authority. Think about how many parts of Florida are occasionally or seasonally wet, especially in agriculture. Millions of acres of the Florida landscape will fall under federal jurisdiction if the rule — as drafted — goes into effect. Landowners such as developers, foresters, farmers, and industrial dischargers will be subject to new and increased regulations.

In addition, every one of these landowners will be required to obtain a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to build the simplest of structures. This puts the future of Florida’s businesses at the mercy of the federal government and on the timeline of the Army Corps of Engineers. And neither are shining examples of efficiency or common sense.

A Unified Fight

This is the most significant expansion of federal government regulation on Florida in a quarter of a century, and one that is not based on sound science and has not been adequately studied. And it will be a drain on our state’s economy at a time when we have just recovered from the financial crisis and Great Recession.

Even members of Congress — who can rarely come together on an issue — have partnered to fight this crippling overreach. More than half of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives have called for the proposed rule to be repealed, and 84 organizations representing farmers and ranchers across the country endorsed their letter calling on the rule to be withdrawn. Despite the chorus of objections, the EPA intends to finalize this rule before the end of the President’s term.
For the sake of Florida agriculture, and Florida’s economy in general, we must work together to convince the EPA to ditch the rule.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

Citrus Stories
Insect & Disease UpdateCalifornia’s Citrus Growers Face More Challenges Than Huanglongbing
August 27, 2015
As a kid growing up we all remember the arrival of Barnum & Bailey’s circus. The ads, the posters, the Read More
Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg
CitrusCounting Down The Top U.S. Colleges For Natural Resources And Conservation
August 25, 2015
STEM-fueled area of study presents wide field of opportunity for future grads. Read More
Charlotte's Web-medical marijuana in greenhouse
CitrusMedical Marijuana Endeavor Anything But Pipe Dream For Florida Nurseries
August 20, 2015
While applicants await fate for one of the five available licenses to weave ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ best-case-scenarios play out. Read More
CitrusSouth Florida Farmers Feted For Water Quality Standards
August 20, 2015
Marking 20 straight years of success, producers help Everglades Agricultural Area exceed phosphorus reduction goals. Read More
old world bollworm climbing on vegetation
CitrusOld World Bollworm A Potential New Pain For Florida Farmers
August 20, 2015
Growers in the Sunshine State on high alert as serious pest is detected for the first time in the U.S. outside of port interceptions. Read More
CitrusUSDA To Pour $20 Million Into Frozen Orange Juice
August 20, 2015
Section 32 bonus purchase program money to help move mountain of surplus inventory. Read More
Sugar Belle brand LB 8-9 orange tree
Varieties & RootstocksPriority High On Producing Proprietary Citrus Varieties
August 19, 2015
Whether it’s industry acceptance or a business necessity, the number of operations registering to grow exclusive selections is increasing. Read More
The Latest
CitrusFederal Judge Blocks Clean Water Rule
August 28, 2015
  According to RISE (Responsible Industry For A Sound Environment), a federal judge in North Dakota has blocked implementation of Read More
Golden Rice
CitrusAnti-GMO-Fueled Threats Force Reallocation Of Biotech E…
August 27, 2015
University of Florida officials say plans are to re-allocate a donation intended to improve the public’s understanding of science after Read More
money
CitrusMonsanto Drops Current Bid For Syngenta Acquisition
August 27, 2015
Even with a revised proposal that sweetened the pot to $46.2 billion, financial expectations still fall flat. Read More
Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg
CitrusCounting Down The Top U.S. Colleges For Natural Resourc…
August 25, 2015
STEM-fueled area of study presents wide field of opportunity for future grads. Read More
Charlotte's Web-medical marijuana in greenhouse
CitrusMedical Marijuana Endeavor Anything But Pipe Dream For …
August 20, 2015
While applicants await fate for one of the five available licenses to weave ‘Charlotte’s Web,’ best-case-scenarios play out. Read More
CitrusSouth Florida Farmers Feted For Water Quality Standards
August 20, 2015
Marking 20 straight years of success, producers help Everglades Agricultural Area exceed phosphorus reduction goals. Read More
old world bollworm climbing on vegetation
CitrusOld World Bollworm A Potential New Pain For Florida Far…
August 20, 2015
Growers in the Sunshine State on high alert as serious pest is detected for the first time in the U.S. outside of port interceptions. Read More
CitrusUSDA To Pour $20 Million Into Frozen Orange Juice
August 20, 2015
Section 32 bonus purchase program money to help move mountain of surplus inventory. Read More
CitrusMaps Show Impending Impact From WOTUS
August 19, 2015
Plots indicate expansion of EPA’s reach across Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Montana. Read More
branches covered in ice
CitrusWicked Winter Coming This Way Says Latest Farmer’s Alma…
August 17, 2015
Super El Niño-influenced weather patterns align to paint a less-than-pretty portrait. Read More
dripping orange
CitrusFeeling The Squeeze, Florida Citrus Taking Stock Of Fut…
August 12, 2015
A look back on the 2014-2015 citrus season reveals major economic questions, concerns. Read More
man trying to prevent from being boxed in by boxes
CitrusEconomic Progress A Threat To Box In Agriculture [Opini…
August 11, 2015
For growers, buffer zones, noise ordinances, nutrient runoff concerns, and sinkhole threats all are factors heightened with nearby neighbors. Instead of trying to beat them, why not join them? Read More
CitrusAlico Bucks Trend Related To Current Citrus Struggles
August 10, 2015
Despite the 2014-2015 season yielding smallest crop in nearly 50 years, Florida-based company boasts marked growth in harvest, sales. Read More
Keith Jones
CitrusBiopesticide Industry Alliance Names Keith Jones As New…
August 10, 2015
The Biopesticide Industry Alliance (BPIA) announced its selection of Keith Jones as its new executive director. Mr. Jones is an Read More
Immokalee< FL, Farm and Grove aerial view
CitrusFlorida Farmland Remains Hot Commodity
August 5, 2015
Recent multimillion-dollar deal involving Immokalee citrus grove is among several high-acreage, high-dollar transactions. Read More
CitrusResearchers Say Drones Will Play A Major Role In Farmin…
August 4, 2015
Texas A&M AgriLife researchers say the technology will offer growers precise information about their crops. Read More
woman smashing an alarm clock with a hammer
CitrusDon’t Become A Time Crunch Casualty
July 31, 2015
Finding the balance between work life and home life is easier said than done for GenNext Growers. Read More
money
CitrusBankrupt Florida Farm To Yield Plenty Of Land, Equipmen…
July 30, 2015
As many as seven different buyers could be part of this Chapter 11 proceeding. Read More