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Water in the News

April 4, 2014

EPA proposes greater protections for streams, wetlands under Clean Water Act
The Washington Post

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule on March 25 that would give the federal government regulatory authority over millions of acres of wetlands and about 2 million miles of streams. The proposal, which is subject to a 90-day comment period slated to begin in a few weeks, would lead to stricter pollution controls on some of these areas and aims to resolve a long-running legal battle over how to apply the Clean Water Act to the nation’s intermittent and ephemeral streams and wetlands.

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EPA rule would close loopholes in Clean Water Act, restore protections for streams and wetlands

On March 25, in the biggest step forward for clean water in more than a decade, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers proposed a rule to close loopholes in the Clean Water Act that leave more than half of America’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands at risk of unchecked pollution and development. This rule-making comes after a decade of uncertainty over the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act, following polluter-led Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006.

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Farm Bureau opposes EPA water proposal

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy says the proposed new Clean Water Act will not require farmers to obtain new permits. McCarthy says the rule’s only goal is to clarify, not to impose greater authority. But the American Farm Bureau Federation called the proposal a “serious threat” for farmers.

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Iowa farmers get proactive to improve water quality
The Country Today

Most farmers would say they know their land better than anybody else does. So, it only makes sense for them to take the lead role in addressing issues related to water quality within their watershed. “You know when, where, how the water runs. You’re the best person to correct issues,” said Jeff Pape, a crop producer from eastern Iowa’s Dubuque County.

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Cover crops are reducing nutrient losses, improving soil tilth for farmers
The Post-Bulletin

Tim Smith, of Eagle Grove, said he thinks adopting cover crops probably is as dramatic as when his father sold his plow 40 years ago. “Forty years ago, we had problems with wind erosion, and we changed our tillage practices,” Smith said. “I remember the neighbor who bought our plow asked how we would be able to farm without it. We went to a chisel plow and then a disk chisel, and now I use no-till and strip till with cover crops.”

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Senator pushing USDA for critical conservation area
Mississippi Business Journal

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., has suggested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture consider designating the Lower Mississippi River Valley as one of the Critical Conservation Areas established in the 2014 farm bill to more efficiently promote soil, water and habitat conservation programs on a regional level. The comments came as the Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture began its review of the FY2015 budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department’s implementation of the 2014 farm bill.

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