Last week NPC, as a member of the Pesticide Policy Coalition (PPC), submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding their proposed rule to redefine Waters of the United States (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
The group communicated its serious concerns with the proposed rule. Similar to the 2015 WOTUS rule, the group argued that “the rulemaking would exacerbate policy tensions between the CWA and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA); adversely affect the timely use of EPA-registered pesticides; expose pesticide users to unwarranted legal uncertainties; and interfere with well-established state pesticide and water programs and policies.”
The groups wrote of their concern that the agencies intend to use the new rule to unnecessarily regulate farmland by relying on vague and self-reinforcing definitions for justifying federal jurisdiction over features such as “floodplains,” “riparian areas,” “neighboring,” and “tributaries,” while also expanding the current jurisdiction over adjacent wetlands to include manmade canals and drainage ditches.
“We believe the net result would be an expansion of federal jurisdiction over marginal waters and manmade conveyances that have not previously been defined as WOTUS, and an encroachment on state authorities and budgets. This would result in adverse impacts on public and private pest control efforts and the operators responsible for maintaining the availability of safe, healthy, and abundant food; public health; forests and other natural resources wrote.
The full letter can be found here.