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EPA Grants More Time to Consider Controversial ‘Waters of the U.S.’ Regulation

July 2, 2014

Ten days after NMPF requested it, the Environmental Protection Agency agreed to allow more time to examine its controversial draft regulation expanding the waterways subject to pollution controls under the federal Clean Water Act. The new deadline for submitting public comments is October 10. 

NMPF cited two reasons for requesting more time:  First, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers had not completed the report providing the scientific underpinning for the regulation; and second, many of the key concepts discussed in the draft are unclear or subject to interpretation by government regulators.

“Dairy farmers are committed to protecting U.S. waters both voluntarily and under the Clean Water Act,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern, “but the EPA needs to go about this effort in the right way. Allowing more time to consider EPA’s draft will give everyone the chance to adequately consider the issues raised in the draft and provide an opportunity for a more informed process.”

Unveiled in March, the draft regulation expands the waterways covered under the 1972 Clean Water Act to nearly all those connected to U.S. navigable waters. Concerns have been raised by many farm organizations that the proposed rule could have a devastating impact, particularly on agriculture. 

“Given the scope and complexities of the proposed rule and its supporting documents, it was essential that EPA allow more time to consider the issues it raises,” Mulhern said.