In addition to the proposed regulation governing “waters of the United States,” the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued an interpretive rule that will govern how “normal farming exemptions” contained in Section 404 of the Clean Water Act are interpreted. This rule was effective upon issuance, although the agencies have solicited comment on its provisions.
The interpretive rule issued by EPA and the Corps makes fundamental changes in how the exemptions for normal agricultural activities at “established” farms will be applied and enforced. Contrary to assertions by proponents of the rule, AFBF believes this rule narrows how the exemptions are applied and will increase liability for farmers. AFBF also disagrees with the characterization of the rule as an “interpretive rule” that can be issued without advance public notice and comment.
AFBF submitted new comments on the interpretive rule, which supersede comments filed June 6.