The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers heard the voices of farmers and ranchers this week during a listening session on the rewrite of the Waters of the U.S. rule. Micheal Clements shares what the agency heard.
Clements: The Environmental Protection Agency this week held the first listening session on rewriting the Waters of the U.S. Rule. Lauren Lurkins, Director of Environmental Policy at Illinois Farm Bureau, says the public meetings provide an opportunity for agriculture to be heard.
Lurkins: These are really the first step of the U.S. EPA and the Army Corps to listen to a set of opinions across the country as they look to rewrite the definition of Waters of the U.S. So, they were interested in hearing a variety of perspectives on implementation challenges over the previous years and kind of what suggestions folks had for moving forward.
Clements: Lurkins represented Illinois farmers while giving comment to the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers.
Lurkins: The biggest concern that our membership has and that I shared with the agencies was the significant leap in logic that they make in some of their early statements that a federal permit equals environmental protection, while no federal permit must equal environmental degradation, and we know across the country that that simply is not the case.
Clements: Lurkins adds the EPA is hosting more public sessions this year.
Lurkins: We are going to have a set of these virtual public meetings throughout the rest of August. So, there's five total at this point, four more to go, and then they will start a set of 10 round tables across the country, they’re slotting those for the fall and winter.
Clements: Registration for three of the listening sessions is still open. Learn more and register at EPA.gov/WOTUS. Micheal Clements, Washington.