Ditch the Myth

Let’s get serious about protecting clean water

This post addresses concerns and misconceptions about the proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect clean water. The proposed rule clarifies protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. The following facts emphasize that this proposed rule cuts through red tape to make normal farming practices easier while also ensuring that waters are clean for human health, communities, and the economy.


MYTH: The rule would regulate all ditches, even those that only flow after rainfall.

TRUTH: The proposed rule actually reduces regulation of ditches because for the first time it would exclude ditches that are constructed through dry lands and don’t have water year-round. Tweet the truth

MYTH: A permit is needed for walking cows across a wet field or stream.

TRUTH: No. Normal farming and ranching activities don’t need permits under the Clean Water Act, including moving cattle. Tweet the truth

 The proposed rule to protect clean water will not change exclusions and exemptions for agriculture.

MYTH: Ponds on the farm will be regulated.

TRUTH: The proposed rule does not change the exemption for farm ponds that has been in place for decades. It would for the first time specifically exclude stock watering and irrigation ponds constructed in dry lands. Tweet the truth

MYTH: Groundwater is regulated by the Clean Water Act.

TRUTH: The proposed rule specifically excludes groundwater. Tweet the truth

MYTH: The federal government is going to regulate puddles and water on driveways and playgrounds.

TRUTH: Not remotely true. Such water is never jurisdictional. Tweet the truth

MYTH: EPA is gaining power over farms and ranches.

TRUTH: No. All historical exclusions and exemptions for agriculture are preserved. Tweet the truth

The proposed rule to protect clean water does not require permits for normal farming activities like moving cattle.

MYTH: Only the 56 conservation practices are now exempt from the Clean Water Act.

TRUTH: No. The proposal does not remove the normal farming exemption. It adds 56 beneficial conservation practices to the exemption, which is self-implementing. Tweet the truth

Download the interpretive rule signed by EPA and USDA

MYTH: The proposed rule will apply to wet areas or erosional features on fields.

TRUTH: Water-filled areas on crop fields are not jurisdictional and the proposal specifically excludes erosional features. Tweet the truth

MYTH: This is the largest land grab in history.

TRUTH: The Clean Water Act only regulates the pollution and destruction of U.S. waters. The proposed rule would not regulate land or land use. Tweet the truth

MYTH: EPA and the Army Corps are going around Congress and the Supreme Court.

TRUTH: EPA and the Army Corps are responding to calls from Congress and the Supreme Court to clarify regulations. Chief Justice Roberts said that a rulemaking would provide clarification of jurisdiction. Tweet the truth

The proposed rule to protect clean water keeps in place the current exemptions for farm ponds.

MYTH:  The proposal will now require permits for all activities in floodplains.

TRUTH: The Clean Water Act does not regulate land and the agencies are not asserting jurisdiction over land in floodplains. Tweet the truth

MYTH:  The proposed rule will harm the economy.

TRUTH: Protecting water is vital to the health of the economy. Streams and wetlands are economic drivers because of their role in fishing, hunting, agriculture, recreation, energy, and manufacturing. Tweet the truth

MYTH:  The costs of this proposal are too burdensome.

TRUTH: For this proposed rule, the potential economic benefits are estimated to be about TWICE the potential costs – $390 to $510 million in benefits versus $160 to $278 million in costs.  Tweet the truth

Download an economic analysis about the proposed rule

MYTH:  This is a massive expansion of federal authority.

TRUTH: The proposal does not protect any waters that have not historically been covered under the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule specifically reflects the more narrow reading of jurisdiction established by the Supreme Court and the rule protects fewer waters than prior to the Supreme Court cases. Tweet the truth

The proposed rule to protect clean water does not regulate floodplains.

MYTH:  This is increasing the number of regulated waters by including waters that do not flow year-round as waters of the United States.

TRUTH: Streams that only flow seasonally or after rain have been protected by the Clean Water Act since it was enacted in 1972. More than 60 percent of streams nationwide do not flow year-round and contribute to the drinking water supply for 117 million Americans. Tweet the truth

See a map of counties that depend on these sources for drinking water

MYTH:  Only actual navigable waters can be covered under the Clean Water Act.

TRUTH: Court decisions and the legislative history of the Clean Water Act make clear that waters do not need actual navigation to be covered, and these waters have been protected by the Clean Water Act since it was passed in 1972. Tweet the truth

MYTH:  The rule includes no limits on federal jurisdiction.

TRUTH: The proposed rule does not protect any waters that have not historically been covered under the Clean Water Act and specifically reflects the Supreme Court’s more narrow reading of jurisdiction, and includes several specific exclusions. Tweet the truth

The proposed rule to protect clean water does not regulate puddles.

MYTH:  This rule is coming before the science is available. 

TRUTH: EPA’s scientific assessment is based on more than 1,000 pieces of previously peer-reviewed and publicly available literature. The rule will not be finalized until the scientific assessment is finalized. Tweet the truth

Download the draft scientific assessment (331 pp, 11 MB, PDF)

MYTH:  This is about little streams in the middle of nowhere that don’t matter.

TRUTH: Everyone lives downstream. This means that our communities, our cities, our businesses, our schools, and our farms are all impacted by the pollution and destruction that happens upstream. Tweet the truth

MYTH:  The proposal infringes on private property rights and hinders development.

TRUTH: EPA, the Army Corps, and states issue thousands of permits annually that allow for property development and economic activity in ways that protect the environment. The proposed rule will help reduce regulatory confusion and delays in determining which waters are covered. Tweet the truth

The proposed rule to protect clean water actually decreases regulation of ditches.

MYTH:  Stakeholders were not consulted in the development of the proposed rule.

TRUTH: This is a proposal. Agencies are seeking public comment and participating in extensive outreach to state and tribal partners, the regulated community including small business, and the general public. Tweet the truth

MYTH:  The federal government is taking authority away from the states.

TRUTH: This proposed rule fully preserves and respects the effective federal-state partnership and federal-tribal partnership established under the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule will not affect state water laws, including those governing water supply and use. Tweet the truth

MYTH:  Nobody wanted a rulemaking to define Waters of the U.S.

TRUTH: A rulemaking to provide clarity was requested by the full spectrum of stakeholders: Congress, industry, agriculture, businesses, hunters and fisherman, and more. Tweet the truth   

See who requested this rulemaking

Humboldt County Democrats

Let’s get serious about protecting clean water

This post addresses concerns and misconceptions about the proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect clean water. The proposed rule clarifies protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. The following facts emphasize that this proposed rule cuts through red tape to make normal farming practices easier while also ensuring that waters are clean for human health, communities, and the economy.


MYTH: The rule would regulate all ditches, even those that only flow after rainfall.

TRUTH: The proposed rule actually reduces regulation of ditches…

View original post 1,025 more words

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The Senate Finally Confirmed EPA Chief

This Senate’s confirmation of Gina McCarthy to lead the Environmental Protection Agency means that, finally, after months of political obstruction by the Congressional friends of big polluters, we have a new administrator to deliver the public health and environmental protections that we all deserve.  Senator Reid may have voted for her confirmation, but Senator Heller voted NAY (Vote 180) because he’s an “outdoorsman” and apparently believes Ms. McCarthy just might impact his ability to allow his big polluter, anti-climate benefactors to reak havoc on our environment.

I called his office and I also wrote to Senator Heller asking him to support Gina McCarthy’s nomination to lead the EPA, and in response his office apparently had some sort of “hiccup” on July 10th … and they mailed me four identical response letters with political speak blowing me off.  So, Mr. Heller, here’s the deal.  You have clearly voted against my wishes each and every time I’ve contacted your office.  Thus, YOU clearly do not represent me.  So, at your next election, when your name is on the ballot, I’ll be voting “NAY” for you by voting for “the other guy.”

Heller-McCarthyLtr

It’s Time to Confirm Gina McCarthy at EPA

Just two weeks ago, President Obama delivered a landmark speech where he outlined what his administration will do to make good on his promise to place climate change at the top of his second-term agenda. It was a call to action for his administration and for the nation, but he also reminded us that the Senate has a part to play:

“The woman that I’ve chosen to head up the EPA, Gina McCarthy, she’s worked — (applause) — she’s terrific. Gina has worked for the EPA in my administration, but she’s also worked for five Republican governors. She’s got a long track record of working with industry and business leaders to forge common-sense solutions. Unfortunately, she’s being held up in the Senate… The Senate should confirm her without any further obstruction or delay.”   —  President Obama, June 25, 2013

The cornerstone of the president’s climate plan is a new set of EPA safeguards against climate-disrupting carbon emissions from coal plants. The best way to make sure those protections are put into place quickly is to make sure the EPA is fully staffed and ready to get to work.

And that’s not all. The EPA is also considering historic protections against coal waste in our water, along with other safeguards to protect our air, water, and communities from big polluters. They’ll also advise the president as he decides whether or not to approve the dangerous Keystone XL pipeline.

It’s a lot to take on, but with her long track record and results-oriented approach, there’s no doubt that Gina McCarthy can hit the ground running. She’s ready to shoulder these responsibilities. Are your senators ready to shoulder theirs?

From historic new fuel efficiency standards that save us money at the pump to life-saving safeguards against soot, mercury and other toxics, Gina McCarthy has been on the front lines of our most critical public health battles. She has proven that she has what it takes to stand up for clean air, safe water, and the health of our communities.

Has some Republican placed a “secret hold” on her confirmation?  Is the Republican Minority mounting plans to filibuster her confirmation?  Is Senator Reid finally going to find some intestinal fortitude to FIX THE FILIBUSTER problem in the Senate?

It’s time for action.  Please take the time to write, email or call Senator Reid and Senator Heller:

 

TAKE ACTION: Senator, Confirm McCarthy At The EPA

President Obama has nominated Gina McCarthy to serve as the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), our nation’s protector of clean air, clean water, and public health. She is a solid choice for the job.

Gina McCarthy has a long and respected career working in a bipartisan fashion to protect our environment. She has worked at the state level for Republican governors and served as assistant administrator at the EPA during the first term of the Obama administration.

In May, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted along party lines in favor of McCarthy for this position after an initial boycott of the proceedings by Republicans. Now, still other Republican members are stonewalling, placing holds on the nomination and keeping the full Senate from voting for McCarthy to take the helm at the EPA.

Many important issues remain unfinished at the EPA:

•  Carbon limits need to be set for new and existing power plants.
•  Coal ash needs to be regulated as the toxic pollution it is.
•  Protections must be restored for every American waterway.

But, first the Senate must vote to confirm her.

Please take action by encouraging your senator to vote to confirm Gina McCarthy.