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New York Farm Bureau Submits Comments on Revised Definition of Waters of the U.S.


New York Farm Bureau has submitted comments calling on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the proposed Revised Definition of the “Waters of the United States (WOTUS)” and keep in place the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR). The NWPR was a clear, defensible rule that appropriately balanced the objective, goals, and policies of the Clean Water Act. However, the revised definition looks to greatly expand WOTUS to classify mostly dry land and low spots as navigable water. This will create grey areas in the law that will make it challenging and costly for farmers to comply in a timely manner.

The submitted comments say, “Considering drains, ditches, stock ponds, and other low spots on farmlands and pastures as jurisdictional “waters” opens up the potential for regulation of activities on those lands that move dirt or apply products to the land.”  This additional regulation would force farmers to spend tens of thousands to obtain permits that would delay or halt standard farming practices like tilling the land or applying fertilizer. New York Farm Bureau believes the revised definition exceeds the legislative intent set by Congress when it passed the Clean Water Act and unlawfully expands federal jurisdiction.

New York farmers have a long history of protecting our waters including those of national importance like the Chesapeake Bay and the Susquehanna Watershed, the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, Delaware Water Basin, and the Long Island Sound Watershed. New York Farm Bureau also advocates for conservation programs and practices, like no-till, riparian buffers, and cover cropping, that reduce erosion and protect water quality. The new WOTUS definition will only impede these efforts.

Click here to read the full submitted comments.


New York Farm Bureau is the State’s largest agricultural lobbying/trade organization. Its members and the public know the organization as “The Voice of New York Agriculture.” New York Farm Bureau is dedicated to solving the economic and public policy issues challenging the agricultural community.