National Farmers Union wants the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clarify how it will identify waters protected by the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 under EPA’s new proposed guidance rule. NFU also urged EPA to defer to state laws to regulate bodies of water that are fully contained within a state and are not suitable for transportation.
NFU President Roger Johnson says there is concern that – as currently written – the application of the ‘significant nexus’ test for determining jurisdictional waters presents an unclear and potentially inconsistent standard for field assessments. Johnson believes by making determinations with broad tests and assumptions – the agency could neglect significant local considerations that might influence determinations.
NFU policy opposes broadening the definition of what waters are considered jurisdictional. Johnson notes the group opposes any efforts by the federal government through the usage of national water policy to usurp the rights and prerogatives of the individual states – and therefore opposes provisions in the proposed guidance that would seek to assert jurisdiction over waters that are neither navigable nor interstate in nature.