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Second Listening Session on EPA Water Rules Set for July 30 in Winnsboro
July 16, 2014
A second listening session is scheduled for July 30 to hear comments from Louisiana’s agricultural community about proposed water rules from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The event will be held at the Scott Extension Education Center in Winnsboro. Registration and lunch (provided) will begin at noon.
The proposed rule was released for public comment on March 25, 2014, whereby the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers seek to revise the definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The agencies emphasize that the proposal seeks to provide regulatory clarity after significant uncertainty following two Supreme Court decisions. This proposal is being evaluated by many agricultural organizations, and agricultural producers are encouraged to comment on the proposed rule.
The public has an opportunity to comment on the proposal until Oct. 20, 2014. Ron Curry, EPA Region 6 administrator out of Dallas, Texas, said, “We are very interested in hearing the producers’ perspective on this very important rule. It is our job to listen and encourage producers to comment as to how the proposed rule may affect agriculture.”
According to the EPA, the proposed rule preserves existing CWA exemptions and exclusions for agricultural activities. Additionally, the agencies, in coordination with the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), will now exempt 56 established NRCS conservation practices from the CWA Section 404 dredged or fill permitting requirements, if they occur in waters covered by the CWA.
Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, D.V.M, said, “Because of the participation and input gathered at the first listening session in south Louisiana, we felt it was important to have a second session.”
“The LSU AgCenter recognizes the importance of water resources to the future of agriculture in Louisiana. We are committed to conducting research and outreach to ensure a safe and plentiful water supply,” added Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture.
If interested in participating, call the LSU AgCenter at 318-435-2908 or email Mollie Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org by 4:30 p.m. on July 25.
For more information, contact Carrie Castille, associate LDAF commissioner, at 225-922-1234 or email@example.com.