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Look in the Mirror
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio
Program: Idaho Agribusiness Today
Date: July 17, 2014
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Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, banning discharges of pollutants from a point source meaning, a single source or conveyance into navigable waters without a federal permit. The Clean Water Act has established a system of cooperative federalism that gives federal agencies—mainly EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—the authority to regulate navigable waters such as interstate rivers. The law calls these “waters of the U.S.” State and local governments have jurisdiction over smaller, more-remote waters, such as many ponds and isolated wetlands, because state and local governments are more accountable to their citizens and more in touch with local environmental and economic situations. But on March 25 a proposed rule that would expand its regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act to these types of land features and waters, giving the agencies the power to dictate land-use decisions and farming practices in or near them. The rule will make it more difficult to farm or change a farming operation to remain competitive and profitable. The rule could even apply to irrigation ditches and Gov. Otter, in a conversation, suggested that the feds look in the mirror. If they gave a whip about pollution, take a look in their own backyard at the Potomac. My God, one night that place caught on fire. They are constantly dumping stuff into the Potomac River which is the habitat for the short nosed sturgeon. We protested that when I was in Congress. It is just a constant overreach. We are asking for primacy back on our water, it is about a seven-year project, we passed the first bill last year. We want to control our own water quality and we want to continue to control our own water.
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