Will the stale “states’ rights” rhetoric of some Florida’s politicians ever be toned down? Look, for example, at Attorney General Pam Bondi’s breathless press release about suing to overturn the recent EPA rule on “Waters of the United States.” She calls it the “federal government’s attempt to seize regulatory control over large categories of state waters.” Her suit, she claims, is “crucial in preserving states’ rights and state waters, and stopping federal overreach.”
Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam is no better. The Commissioner’s press release thanks Bondi for “defending states’ rights” and for “holding the Obama Administration accountable for its federal overreach” as another example of a federal “power grab.”
Give it a rest, please. This kind of unhinged accusation bears no relationship to the tough challenges of wetland regulation or of state/federal balance. Bondi and Putnam should just say out loud that they want the feds to provide a lesser level of water resource protection. Instead, we get their policy preference dressed up in misleading claims about states’ rights. We all know where that catchphrase came from. It is way past time for elected officials to stop yelling bombastic contempt for the federal government. If NASCAR and the state where the Civil War started can finally lay down the Confederate Flag, Florida politicians should also be able to terminate their ridiculous blustering about “states’ rights.”
(Added note below)
(From EPA Factsheet on Agricultural Exemptions) What the rule does: Preserve agricultural exemptions from permitting, including:
• Normal farming, silviculture, and ranching practices. Those activities include plowing, seeding,
cultivating, minor drainage, and harvesting for production of food, fiber, and forest products.
• Soil and water conservation practices in dry land.
• Agricultural stormwater discharges.
• Return flows from irrigated agriculture.
• Construction and maintenance of farm or stock ponds or irrigation ditches on dry land.
• Maintenance of drainage ditches.
• Construction or maintenance of farm, forest, and temporary mining roads.
• Ensure fields flooded for rice are exempt and can be used for water storage and bird habitat.