Producer Comment Letter - U.S. Poultry and Egg Association

Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency
Agency Mail Code 2822T,
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.,
Washington, DC 20460
Attention: Docket ID No.
Subject: Proposed Rule - Definition of ‘‘Waters of the United
States’’ Under the Clean Water Act
Dear Administrator McCarthy:
My name is
, and I have [raised broilers] [raised turkeys][produced eggs] on my farm for the past
___ years. I’m writing to strongly oppose the EPA’s and the Army Corps of Engineers’ recently proposed
“Definition of ‘‘Waters of the United States Under the Clean Water Act” rule. I have followed the proposal since its
publication in April, and am firmly convinced it will dramatically expand federal authority over ditches, ponds and
other waters of nearly any size, flow and frequency that may be located on my property.
EPA has announced that the rule’s intention is to clear up confusion over what is considered a “Water of the
United States.” and to reduce uncertainty for everyone. It has also argued it is not expanding its jurisdiction or
adding to the scope of waters already protected under the Clean Water Act. However, reading the “fine print”
buried in the actual language of the rule gives producers like me little confidence that this will actually be the case.
As an example, EPA has stretched the definitions of “tributary,” “adjacent waters” and other terms and then linked
them together in a way that allows the agency almost limitless authority over my property and the activities on my
farm. Even the routine management of my family’s operation could be subject to potential permitting,
enforcement and penalties of up to $37,500 per day.
Given this potential impact on my own farm, it is simply impossible to believe EPA’s claim that the proposed rule
would increase by only 2.7 percent nationwide those waters currently subject to federal Clean Water Act
jurisdiction. It is also impossible to believe that the compliance cost is not significantly higher than what the
agency claims, since it appears that land uses in much of my community and the rest of rural America will be
EPA has also issued a so-called “interpretive rule” in coordination with USDA to assure farmers that over 50
conservation practices that protect or improve water quality will be exempt from permitting requirements
governing dredging and filling activities under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The new interpretive rule has
many serious problems, not least of which is that it was issued as effective immediately without providing farmers
an opportunity to submit comments on whether it works by providing the benefits EPA claims it does. It is clear at
this point it does not.
EPA and the Corps have gone too far in this attempt to clarify which waters are the “waters of the U.S.” – we
strongly oppose this effort and request that the agency withdraw the rule and start over.