AFBF releases Water of the United States rule impact maps

Areas marked with red lines indicate WOTUS jurisdiction in Somerset County, Pa.
Areas marked with red lines indicate WOTUS jurisdiction in Somerset County, Pa. | Courtesy of the American Farm Bureau

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) recently released maps that indicate the new jurisdictional changes that will occur when the Waters of The United States rule goes into effect Aug. 28.

These maps were generated by Geosyntec Consulting. Currently maps are available for Pennsylvania, Virginia and Montana. According to the report, 99 percent of acreage in Pennsylvania would be subject to scrutiny under the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regulations and they state that it is unclear which areas of water would be regulated.

A large focus on these maps is the marking of ephemeral streams, which the AFBF describes as low areas that mainly drain excess water from farm lands to avoid flooding during a rain storm. While certain streams of this kind have been regulated in the past, there had been a site-specific issue that had accompanied the stream.

The report warns that common agricultural practices would be subject to EPA penalty if they occurred near these kinds of waterways. Actions include the discharge of pesticides, fertilizers and loose soil.

"Farmers face enforcement action and severe penalties under EPA's new rule for using the same safe, scientifically sound and federally approved crop protection tools they've used for years," AFBF President Bob Stallman said. "This rule creates a new set of tools for harassing farmers in court, and does it all with language that is disturbingly vague and subject to abuse by future regulators. It's worth saying again: The EPA needs to withdraw this rule and start over."

There are additional maps being developed for parts of New York, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Missouri.

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American Farm Bureau Federation

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