Sunday, April 6, 2014 | 2:02 a.m.
It was good to read about the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent ruling clarifying what bodies of water should be included under the Clean Water Act. Although the act has been successful in cleaning up toxic streams, rivers and wetlands across America since 1972, in recent years water policy has become muddied with confusing and arbitrary decisions by the Supreme Court.
These decisions limited protections to just “navigable” waters, making the Clean Water Act much less effective, and were clearly not within the act’s intent.
As an organic farmer in one of the country’s driest states, I count on clean, abundant water for my livelihood. I see firsthand how what happens to our seasonal and feeder streams and rivers affect the larger bodies of water they’re connected to. Along with new Food and Drug Administration food safety regulations for testing farm water, the EPA’s ruling will ensure cleaner, safer drinking water while providing certainty for agriculture and industry.
All the heated rhetoric about how the EPA’s ruling might hurt farmers is a lot of hot air, since all the existing exclusions for ranchers and farmers using irrigation ditches, stock ponds and the like will continue as before.