The date for the EPA’s “Waters of the US” ruling is fast approaching. The National Corn Growers Association is demanding the rule be postponed and that Congress act to end it all together. The situation becomes more critical in light of a recent memo from the Army Corps of Engineers.
“In July, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy came to our meeting in Washington and made certain assurances that no new risks are created by the rule,” NCGA President Chip Bowling said. “We have since become convinced that these assurances are based on an inaccurate reading of the rule, the preamble, and the recent applicable field record of her agency’s own actions on these issues.”
The NCGA’s concerns were exacerbated when it became known that the Corps of Engineers, which had been partnering with EPA in the process, expressed significant reservations on the science and legality of the rule.
“Corps data to EPA has been selectively applied out of context, and mixes terminology and disparate data sets,” a May 15, 2015 internal memo states. “In the Corps judgement, these documents contain numerous inappropriate assumptions with no connection to the data provided, misapplied data, analytical deficiencies and logical inconsistencies.”
And from an earlier memo: “The rule’s contradictions with legal principles generate multiple legal and technical consequences that in the view of the Corps would be fatal to the rule in its current form.”
In a letter sent to McCarthy this week requesting an extension of the effective date of the rule, NCGA noted that the agency’s field staff did not even have a clear or consistent understanding of how to implement the rule.
“Our concerns are exacerbated by the fact that the Agencies’ field staff have yet to develop a shared understanding of the rule and how it will be implemented,” the letter states. “Furthermore, the Agencies’ leadership and field staff have yet to develop with farmers a similar understanding of their responsibilities under the Clean Water Act in light of this rule.”