Currently, the United States Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to define the waters protected by the Clean Water Act. While it is in everyone’s best interest to protect our nation’s most precious resource, our bodies of water, the EPA fails to define exactly what a body of water is.
In a recent EPA Guidance Draft, the agency fails to clearly define “other waters,” which could mean about anything during a wet year like South Dakota and other states have experienced. Record rain and snow fall have been disastrous in parts of the state, turning highly productive lands into temporary wetlands that may or may not be regulated.
It is seemingly impossible in parts of South Dakota for an official to determine what is or is not a permanent wetland. With the current draft, anything from ditches, potholes, sloughs and farm ponds may qualify as federally protected bodies of water. Issues like these are exactly why the EPA finds backlash from not just agriculture but industries across the board. Farmers don’t have anything to hide; they are just afraid what over-regulation could do to their operations’ bottom-line.
Again, while farmers support clean water, South Dakota Corn believes that “other waters” should be left to state and local control as this most-recent draft from the EPA is simply too vague with a number of possible negative consequences.