Representatives of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) met with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials last week to express concerns on behalf of member conservation districts regarding the proposed “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule.
“We thought is was a very good meeting and we appreciated the opportunity to express some concerns,” said NACD President Earl Garber, a licensed crop consultant and rice, soybean, and hay producer from Louisiana.
The main concerns addressed by NACD were the need for EPA to take more time to finalize the rule and the need for more clarity in definitions under the rule. “We referred to it as fear because, as a crop consultant, I face that daily with my producers. When they hear this type of information, there’s actually a fear on their part “will this possibly put this out of business as a producer?”
Garber says they met with the EPA representatives for nearly four hours. “They said that they will absolutely take our comments into consideration,” he said. “There was no promise they would necessary use what we recommended but all we can ask is that they would consider (them).”
Garber says they were disappointed that representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were unable to attend the meeting, but he hopes that another meeting will be set up in the future. “We see the Corps of Engineers as a very important part of this because they’re involved in the implementation,” he said. “We think it’s important that they hear how we would anticipate this being implemented based on what we’re reading and we are interested in hearing how they would implement it.”
NACD also plans to submit formal comments on the proposed rule by the deadline of October 20.
Listen to my interview with Garber here: [wpaudio url=”http://www.zimmcomm.biz/government/nacd-earl.mp3″ text=”Interview with Earl Garber, NACD president”]