Many of the things farmers do on a daily basis to produce food and maintain their land come under strict environmental oversight.
NAWG works on a variety of environmental issues to ensure policymakers have accurate information and to advocate for laws and regulations that are appropriate for agricultural operations.
Waters of the United States
In April 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed a regulation defining waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act. Subsequently, a final regulation was issued in May 2015. NAWG expressed concern regarding both the proposed regulation and the final regulation for the expanded jurisdiction of the Act and lack of clarity provided to growers.
NAWG endorsed legislation to require EPA to revise the regulation and issue a new proposal. Read more here.
In early 2009, the Sixth Circuit Court concluded in the case of National Cotton Council of America v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that pesticide discharge is a point source of pollution subject to additional regulation under the Clean Water Act (CWA), meaning producers would need additional permitting for every crop protection application.
The Supreme Court declined to take the case on appeal, so the Sixth Circuit’s ruling stands as law despite being duplicative of existing regulation and fraught with unintended complications. EPA estimates the ruling will affect approximately 365,000 pesticide applicators that perform 5.6 million pesticide applications annually.
NAWG strongly supports a legislative fix to this problem. NAWG supports S. 1500, the Sensible Environmental Protection Act and H.R. 897, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act.
Click here for more information on this issue.
The Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule requires regulated facilities to develop and implement plans to help prevent oil discharges from reaching navigable waters. SPCC regulations were first issued in 1974, but did not touch agriculture until 2002.
The Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 modified the requirements of SPCC for agriculture. The requirements for agriculture were updated after the EPA released a study in June 2015, as directed by the WRRDA law in 2014.
NAWG supports increasing the exemption to up to 10,000 gallons and supports H.R. 3123 the FUELS Act.
Information from farmers on SPCC compliance and the new requirement is available from EPA here.