Spring is not a good time for farmers and ranchers in North Dakota to be hit with the Environmental Protection Agency's new proposed rule for the Clean Water Act, which is nearly 400 pages long.
The EPA?proposal amounts to little more than another unnecessary government attempt to exert its endlessly creeping authority over the everyday lives of American farmers and ranchers. EPA?officials say they are simply clarifying the agency's definitions of navigable waters under the proposal. A quick reading of even a small part of the new proposal shows there's nothing "clarifying" about it at all.
North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said the proposed rule would give the EPA authority over nearly all forms of surface water, including seasonal streams, ponds, flood plains, wetlands, snowmelt and dry ditches. Essentially, if water runs across a patch of land after a heavy rain, much like what happened in the Kenmare area after last weekend's downpour, the EPA wants to be in charge of that moving water.
The rule is woefully unrealistic. Who can be in charge of flowing water after a rain event?
Clarifying its rules? Consider the text of part of the proposal in which the EPA defines a "significant nexus" as waterways that "either alone or in combination with similarly situated waters in the region, significantly affect the chemical, physical, or biological integrity of traditional navigable or interstate waters."
Well, that should clear things up for everyone. North Dakota farmers and ranchers do not need the EPA trying to regulate and govern every single aspect of life on the prairie. They are already good stewards of the land, since it provides them with the opportunity to earn a living. Not only is the EPA's new proposal completely unnecessary, it's virtually impossible to enforce. Let's hope the EPA understands that in the near future.?We'd like to see this proposal dry up.