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WATER POLICY: Critics of Obama rule say federal agencies won't be ready
Annie Snider, E&E reporter
Published: Friday, July 31, 2015

States and industry groups critical of the Obama administration's controversial water rule are asking the agencies to hold off on putting it into effect next month.

The Waters of the U.S. rule, which changes which streams and wetlands are covered under the Clean Water Act, is slated to go into place Aug. 28 after being finalized in late June. The agencies have been preparing their field offices to begin implementing it (E&ENews PM, July 30).

But critics of the rule argue that this is too quick a turnaround for field staff -- and the regulated community -- to be fully versed in the new rule. They also contend that, with a number of challenges registered in the courts, more time should be given to let that process move forward.

Five agricultural groups yesterday wrote U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy, arguing that there is still real confusion among their agencies' staff about what waters will be in and out under the rule.

The groups, including the National Pork Producers Council and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, cited an example from a recent outreach meeting with EPA, where they said a regional staffer gave a member incorrect information about whether farm and stock ponds would be covered under the rule.

"While we appreciate the difficulty and magnitude of coordinating the implementation of such an expansive rule across the Agencies, something must be done to ensure that the rule is interpreted correctly and consistently before it becomes effective law," they wrote.

The groups asked that the rule not go into effect until all staffers have been fully trained.

Separately, officials from 31 states that are suing over the rule also wrote the agencies this week asking that the rule be delayed by at least nine months to allow for "appropriate judicial review."

"Given the gravity of the Constitutional issues implicated by the states' claims and to avoid these hardships, the courts should be granted an opportunity to resolve the pending challenges to the agencies' new WOTUS Rule," the attorneys general and a handful of other state officials wrote.

"We ask that you immediately act to extend the effective date of the WOTUS Rule by at least 9 months," they continued. "A federal regulation of this scope and significance demands a thorough judicial review before imposing costly and disruptive burdens on the states and their citizens."

They also argued that the rule will bring more work to their states' regulatory offices, and that they have not had adequate time to prepare.

A number of these plaintiffs have also asked the court for a preliminary injunction to block immediate implementation of the rule.

Twitter:@AnnElizabeth18 Email: asnider@eenews.net
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Minnesota Department of Natural Resources updates its list of lakes and rivers infested with aquatic invasive species http://ow.ly/QkYAN
List of Infested Waters. The DNR lists waters of the state as infested with aquatic invasive species (AIS) if they contain AIS that could spread to other waters. Activities such as water appropriation and bait harvest are regulated in listed infested waters to help prevent the further spread of ...
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Bloomberg: Alpha Natural Resources will soon file for bankruptcy http://bloom.bg/1DTz6M6
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Capitol Hill Next Week - What to watch for related to Mississippi River Basin water resources http://ow.ly/QkhUx
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House Oversight Committee looks into allegations that EPA and Army Corps disagreed over development of clean water rule http://ow.ly/Qkd9A
The House Oversight Committee is looking into allegations that two Obama administration agencies had sharp disagreements over the development of a major water pollution rule.
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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to issue $62.6 million in budget cuts and fund transfers to shore up state cash reserves http://ow.ly/QkcaN
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USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Program's new annual web-based reporting system of stream and river water quality is now on-line http://ow.ly/Qk8aF (see the "Mississippi River Basin - Relative Nutrient Loading from Tributaries" section here: http://ow.ly/Qk8GN)
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New USGS On-Line Water Quality Tool Reports on Mississippi River Basin - Relative Nutrient Loading from Tributaries http://ow.ly/QkXuG
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Hello everyone.  Welcome to Friday and the latest edition of the “Mississippi River Basin Water Resource Weekly News.”  We’ve pulled together the best bits of this week’s River Basin-related news, which include a Republican regulatory reining-in, Midwest mercury misinformation, heightened heartland hops harvests, some stalled states’ spending, and plenty of proposed pipeline polemics.  And don’t miss the new USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Program web-based reporting system of stream and river water quality, including a "Mississippi River Basin - Relative Nutrient Loading from Tributaries" section.  http://ow.ly/QhPgX 

You can review it all in the weekly news compilation, or check out the bite-sized, one-paragraph version of the news in “What We Learned This Week - ‘And that's the way it is.’” (link here: http://ow.ly/QkijZ)
~Most of the Water News - None of the Spin~ This Week and Next On Tuesday, the U.S. House passed H.R. 427, the "Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act" by a vote of 243 – 165. Under the REINS Act, fe...
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Kentucky man wants to sue state over pollution from mountaintop removal mining sites http://ow.ly/QkdQl
FRANKFORT — Ricky Handshoe has fought coal companies and state regulators for 10 years hoping to save his home.
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U.S. health officials confirm presence of 'brain-eating' amoeba in water supply of several communities near New Orleans http://ow.ly/QkcGq
US health officials confirm the presence of a 'brain-eating' amoeba in the water supply of several communities near New Orleans.
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Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy's July 30 TUWaterWays e-newsletter http://ow.ly/Qk78i
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Running analysis of Mississippi River Basin issues and their nexus to Federal policy
Introduction
Welcome to the Northeast-Midwest Institute's Mississippi River Basin policy analysis Google+ page, maintained by Mark Gorman of the Northeast-Midwest Institute's Mississippi River Basin Program. Here you will find musings, science, facts and opinions-both profound and mundane-about the River region, its people and natural resources, and their nexus to the Washington, DC political and policy scenes.Comments and other written contributions are always appreciated.