The National Milk Producers Federation joining the chorus of farm groups expressing concern over EPA’s proposed guidance for the Clean Water Act. In fact, NMPF is asking the EPA to withdraw the proposal.
The EPA guidance, officially called an Interpretive Rule, was issued in March. It says producers are only exempt from needing Clean Water Act permits for more than 50 routine farming practices if they comply with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) standards. Until now, these standards have been voluntary, and the farming practices exempt from the permit process.
In comments filed Monday, NMPF said the guidance changes NRCS’s role from conservation partner to EPA enforcer. As a result, they think farmers would be less-likely to implement water conservation practices.
The dairy group contends, “While EPA argues that meeting the NRCS standards is still voluntary, in practice it is mandatory, since failure to comply may expose farmers to legal liability.” They are also concerned that, “more than 100 farming practices covered by NRCS standards but not listed the IR are left under a cloud of suspicion and further expose a farmer to legal liability.”
Read the NMPF comments here: