Please stop the bombast-it is just a water rule

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.


Please stop the bombast-it is just a water rule — 5 Comments

  1. “Bondi and Putnam should just say out loud that they want the feds to provide a lesser level of water resource protection.” Yes. THANK YOU. This is it, in a nutshell.

  2. when it comes to protection of the enviornment..Bondi is little more than a walking Virgina

  3. Sounds vaguely familiar, like the euphemism “patient-centered health care” from those criticizing the Affordable Care Act (and who tend to be the same group of people).

  4. Isn’t reducing a farmer’s bottom line “cruel” and actual imposition of any punishment “unusual”? I guess Bondi and our heir apparent to the governorship prefer to couch their arguments in terms of the Tenth Amendment rather than the Eighth because that might also argue against capital punishment in general.

    The CWA exemptions for agricultural storm water discharge do NOT apply when nutrients are applied in excess of the agronomic rate. That rate is measured not only in terms of the total applied during a crop cycle, but also in terms of the temporal ability of the crop to assimilate all the nutrients before they are leached beyond the root zone.

    The problem with the CWA is that it is confined to “flowing waters”. Similar distinctions apply to Florida’s statutes as they differentiate between waters “of the state” and “in the state”. It does not apply to groundwater. It is permissible for a dairy farmer to excavate bedding material beyond the water table as that water body is an artificial creation. It makes no difference if that water is subsequently polluted by livestock, or back-filled with spent bedding which the feds consider manure.

    The ag propagandists can wax indignant about farmers not wanting to waste money on “lost” fertilizer, but our groundwater will continue to be polluted as long as it is cheaper for the farmer to pollute than not to. Regulatory costs have a place in that equation. Now cometh that left coast federal court which held that nutrients discarded or abandoned beyond the root zone are no longer a beneficial agricultural product or “soil amendment”, but solid waste subject to regulation under the RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. § 6901 et seq.).