WICHITA – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy promised the agency would soon come out with a final Waters of the Unites States - WOTUS - rule and committed to movement on the Renewable Fuel Standard as well.
“I really wish we had done a better job of rolling out the clean water rule,” she said at the National Farmers Union convention in Wichita, adding “I’m really concerned that we weren’t crystal clear not only about what we intended to do but also what we weren’t intending to do."
McCarthy thanked NFU and its members for their helpful feedback during the process and thanked NFU President Roger Johnson for his handling of the situation.
“I want to thank you for not having a knee-jerk reaction,” she said and noted that EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers were working hard to finalize the act by this spring.
McCarthy told the crowd that the agency’s definition of tributaries in the initial draft was far too vague and that would be corrected. “We are considering appropriate ways to narrow that definition.”
On the subject of ditches, she said that EPA needs to make the definitions clearer. “Most farm ditches were never covered before, and they won’t be in this new rule,” she promised.
McCarthy also promised movement on the RFS. “The RFS is a complicated program, and we weren’t able to accomplish what we needed to do last year,” she said. “Implementing the RFS as Congress intended has been challenging.”
NFU President Roger Johnson thanked the administrator for her hard work but urged her to get the RFS moving forward. “The RFS is a major economic engine for family farmers and although it’s complicated, it needs to get done,” he said.
McCarthy ended by noting that farmers and the agency are not at odds with each other on the goals of clean water. “As long as we remind ourselves that we are totally aligned in our goals we will get this job done and we will get this job done well,” she said.