September 11th, 2014
Those of you who have been following EPA’s proposed rule redefining the term “Waters of the U.S.” and the scope of the federal government’s authority to regulate waters (streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands, etc.), know and appreciate the scientific complexity and many layers of politics that complicate this rule making. There’s been lots of theatre on the topic, including some wild and hairy statements from some in Congress who have called it the “biggest land grab in the history of the world” – never mind the expansionist Spartans or Huns. I’m certainly not in that camp, but have expressed concerns of my own regarding the proposal. This issue has been particularly problematic to the agriculture community, who for the last 40 years have been granted important Ag exemptions under the Clean Water Act. These exemptions remain critically important today. EPA has attempted to preserve these exemptions under this rule making and provide a safe harbor of sorts for 56 conservation practices deemed “normal” farming, which under the rule although may impact a “water of the U.S.” would not need a CWA permit. This effort has created serious concerns by many farmers that it doesn’t provide sufficient flexibility and potentially makes them a greater target of more enforcement and citizen suits.
This past week Tracy Mehan had the opportunity to share his own perspective at the Farm Foundation’s forum at the national press club. You can hear the entire healthy debate here. An enlightening discussion if you haven’t been following the kerfuffle. Chris Clayton, Ag Editor over at The Progressive Farmer, had this to say about the discussion: (more…)
Those of you who have been following EPA's proposed rule redefining the term "Waters of the U.S." and the scope of the federal government's authority to regulate waters [more]
An encouraging display this week of bipartisan support for endangered species, itself an increasing rarity here in DC. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the [more]
Matthew Nisbet, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University, has a thoughtful piece over at Breakthrough [more]
Lest we forget, the GOP is the Party of Teddy Roosevelt, founding father of our National Wildlife Refuge system, and Richard Nixon, who created the EPA and enacted most of [more]
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Americans have a strong, moral belief in stewardship, deeply rooted in the ideals of conservatism and woven into the fabric of a free and resilient society. Conservatism acknowledges the obligations of individuals and society to ensure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And in the traditions of Roger Scruton, Russell Kirk and Edmund Burke, the authors seek to promote the values of ordered liberty and prudent restraint upon power and oft insatiable human appetite.
Conservefewell is a forum where diverse and thoughtful minds share ideas and developments affecting our natural environment. We are a group of thought leaders, entrepreneurs, former government officials, policy experts, and environmental advocates who are committed to changing the tone and dialogue of environmental stewardship. We aspire to inspire and motivate others to think and act differently about environmental stewardship. Yet, unfortunately, in today’s highly-charged political environment, the topic of the environment itself often pits individuals and groups against one another. And the debate is often politicized, ignores science, or is oversimplified, when in reality the topic is much more complex.
While we acknowledge and celebrate the environmental progress of the last four decades, we believe the environmental challenges and risks to society that lie ahead demand more thoughtful and reasoned responses. If we are to succeed in safeguarding our natural heritage, we must call upon the leaders of society, whether they be found in government or civic associations, i.e., families, local clubs and environmental groups, institutions, and churches – which Burke fondly referred to as society’s little platoons – to endeavor to find new ways to collaborate and promote sustainable solutions. And we believe that these complex issues and attending difficult conversations warrant a more respectful and thoughtful tone in our public discourse.
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