ALBANY – The New York Farm Bureau is lashing out against a final draft of the U.S. Clean Water Rule, an initiative which the organization says could drastically impede the way local farmers do business.
The finalized document announced by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers last week broadens the definition of “navigable waters” which opponents argue will have a detrimental impact on farms throughout the region by giving jurisdiction to nearly every body of water that could be linked to pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.
This includes tributaries, natural or man-made ponds, flood plains, and prairie potholes that can be traced back to farms.
The rule says that a tributary must show physical features of flowing water – a bed, bank, and ordinary high water mark – to warrant protection. Moreover, it protects waters that are next to rivers and lakes and their tributaries because science shows that they impact downstream waters.