RDL & Associates Issue Update: EPA Moves Forward With Final Clean Water Rule

This past February the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers withdrew an interpretive rule that would have defined “normal farming practices” for purposes of the Clean Water Act.

The agencies’ had been required to do so due to a statutory directive imposed by Congress but the action was only a brief intermission in an ongoing drama.

The interpretive rule stated that farmers, ranchers and landowners would only be exempt from needing Clean Water Act permits for 56 routine farming practices conducted near streams and wetlands if they complied with detailed Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) technical conservation standards.

From a practical perspective, the interpretive rule seemed to codify that only those 56 farming practices were exempt from needing to obtain permits under the Clean Water Act. Currently, the NRCS has defined more than 200 normal farming practices typically used near wetlands.

Withdrawal of the interpretive rule did not impact the agencies’ work to finalize its rulemaking to define the scope of the Clean Water Act, which the EPA and Army did May 27, 2015, with a final rule that includes approximately 300 pages of explanation.

According to the EPA and Army, the final rule “provides clarity over which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act. The rule is grounded in law and the latest science, and is shaped by public input. The rule does not create any new permitting requirements and maintains all previous exemptions and exclusions.”

A host of agricultural stakeholders beg to differ with the viewpoints of the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) does not believe that agriculture’s concerns were addressed in the final rule, coupled with the belief that the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers actually added components that weren’t initially proposed for public review and comment in the proposed rule. This includes making prairie potholes jurisdictional under the rule on a case-by-case basis as they are “similarly situated.”

As for Congress, the United States House of Representatives continues to utilize the appropriations process to address regulatory issues such as the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule.

Earlier this month the House voted to block the rule, with support from both Republicans and some farm- and energy-state Democrats. Similar legislation is moving through the Senate.

In addition, opponents are also preparing lawsuits that will add to an already long trail of litigation over the government’s powers to regulate water — an issue the Supreme Court has already taken up twice.

The final is available at: http://www.epa.gov/cleanwaterrule.

Additional Information

Please send questions, comments and suggestions to:

Dave Ladd, President

RDL & Associates, LLC

e-mail:            daveladd66@gmail.com

LinkedIn:        http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dave-ladd/0/b87/11

Blog:              https://rdlassociates.wordpress.com/

Twitter:          DaveLadd37

Copyright © 2014 RDL & Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.

Radio Interview: Country-of-Origin Labeling (Part 1)

Dave Ladd, President of RDL & Associates was recently a guest on the Linder Farm Network to provide a brief update regarding developments related to Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL).

This is Part 1 of a the interview.

For additional information, please contact RDL & Associates at (651) 247-5458 or via daveladd66@gmail.com

Radio Interview: Country-of-Origin Labeling (Part 2)

Dave Ladd, President of RDL & Associates was recently a guest on the Linder Farm Network to provide a brief update regarding developments related to Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL).

This is Part 2 of a the interview.

For additional information, please contact RDL & Associates at (651) 247-5458 or via daveladd66@gmail.com

Radio Interview: Policy legislation and utilization of the appropriations process in relation to the final WOTUS rule

Dave Ladd, President of RDL & Associates was recently a guest on the Linder Farm Network to provide a brief update regarding policy legislation and utilization of the appropriations process in the United States Congress as they relate to the proposed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

This is Part 1 of a the interview.

For additional information, please contact RDL & Associates at (651) 247-5458 or via daveladd66@gmail.com

Radio Interview: Policy legislation and utilization of the appropriations process in relation to the WOTUS final rule

Dave Ladd, President of RDL & Associates was recently a guest on the Linder Farm Network to provide a brief update regarding policy legislation and utilization of the appropriations process in the United States Congress as they relate to the proposed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

This is Part 2 of a the interview.

For additional information, please contact RDL & Associates at (651) 247-5458 or via daveladd66@gmail.com.

 

Media Release: USDA Announces Restart of Biomass Crop Assistance Program for Renewable Energy

WASHINGTON, June 1, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that incentives will resume this summer for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners interested in growing and harvesting biomass for renewable energy. The support comes through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. BCAP provides financial assistance to establish and maintain new crops of energy biomass, or who harvest and deliver forest or agricultural residues to a qualifying energy facility.

Financial assistance is available through BCAP for costs associated with harvesting and transporting agriculture or forest residues to facilities that convert biomass crops into energy. Eligible crops may include corn residue, diseased or insect infested wood materials, or orchard waste. The energy facility must first be approved by USDA to accept the biomass crop. Facilities can apply for, or renew, their BCAP qualification status beginning today. $11.5 million of federal funds will be allocated to support the delivery of biomass materials through December 2015. Last year, more than 200,000 tons of dead or diseased trees from National Forests and Bureau of Land Management lands were removed and used to produce renewable energy, while reducing the risk of forest fire. Nineteen energy facilities in 10 states participated in the program.

Farmers, ranchers and forest landowners can also receive financial assistance to grow biomass crops that will be converted into energy in selected BCAP project areas. New BCAP project area proposals will be solicited beginning this summer and accepted through fall 2015, with new project area announcements and enrollments taking place in early spring 2016. The extended proposal submission period allows project sponsors time to complete any needed environmental assessments and allows producers enough lead time to make informed decisions on whether or not to pursue the BCAP project area enrollment opportunity. This fiscal year USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will allocate up to $8 million for producer enrollment to expand and enhance existing BCAP project areas. Additionally, in accordance with the 2014 Farm Bill, underserved farmers are eligible for a higher establishment cost share. BCAP projects have supported over 50,000 acres across 74 counties in 11 different project areas.

BCAP was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing, and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America.

For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.