WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 17, 2014) -- On November 14, 2014, the American Horse Council (AHC) submitted comments opposing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' (Corps) proposed rule to redefine "Waters of the U.S." under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
Earlier this year the EPA and Corps published a new proposed rule to define "Waters of the U.S." under the CWA. The CWA regulates discharges of pollutants into the Waters of the United States. The proposed rule appears to redefine "Waters of the U.S.," in a manner that would significantly expand the waters subject to the requirements of the CWA.
The CWA does include exemptions for agriculture, however the AHC and other agricultural groups have serious concerns regarding the proposed rule. The AHC believes the proposed rule uses vague and unclear terms and definitions that will create new confusion regarding what waters are subject to CWA requirements. Furthermore, the AHC has concerns regarding the intended meaning of terms used in the proposed rule and how they will be interpreted in the field.
Additionally, the AHC believes the proposed definition of "Waters of the United States" could include many types of waters, such as ditches, ponds, wetlands, and seasonal streams that have never before been considered under the jurisdiction of the CWA. In fact, the proposed definition is so expansive that it could potentially place almost all surface waters under the jurisdiction of the CWA contrary to the clear intent of Congress and the limits established by several federal court decisions.
In its comments the AHC noted that "the proposed rule greatly expands the waters under the jurisdiction of the CWA beyond the scope of the law or the regulatory authority of the EPA and Corp, creates uncertainty regarding requirements under the CWA, and imposes a new unnecessary regulatory burden on the horse industry. The proposed rule would negatively impact horse farms, ranches and racetracks in all parts of the country. The AHC urges the EPA and Corp to withdrawal the proposed rule in its entirety."
The AHC has also co-signed comprehensive comments with other agricultural groups that oppose the rule.