Appearing at the National Farmers Union convention in Wichita Monday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted that her agency was “in the hot seat” over the Waters of the United States rule released last year and still under review.
“I really wish we had done a better job of rolling out the clean water rule,” she said and “I’m really concerned that we weren’t crystal clear not only about what we intended to do but also what we weren’t intending to do,” she said.
McCarthy thanked National Farmers Union (NFU) and its members for their helpful feedback during the process and thanked NFU President Roger Johnson for his handling of the situation “I want to thank you for not having a knee-jerk reaction,” she said and noted that EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers were working hard to finalize the act by this spring.
McCarthy told the crowd that the agency’s definition of tributaries in the initial draft was far too vague and that would be corrected. “We are considering appropriate ways to narrow that definition.”
On the subject of ditches, she said that EPA needs to make the definitions clearer. “Most farm ditches were never covered before, and they won’t be in this new rule,” she promised.