Thompson co-sponsors wetlands reform bill
U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson is co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation that will provide clarity for landowners and consistency when federal agencies designate wetlands under current federal law, according to a news release from Thompson's office.
The Bridging Responsible Agricultural Conservation Efforts Act, H.R. 5799, was introduced Friday and is co-sponsored by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson.
"For decades, farmers and ranchers have experienced uncertainty, confusion and undue costs through wetland determinations," Thompson said. "Modernizing normal farming practices and clearly defining converted croplands will finally bring certainty and fairness to this process."
The legislation would:
- Require the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to recognize prior-converted and commenced-converted lands that are already certified by the Department of Agriculture.
- Direct EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to promulgate a new rule under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, specifying "normal farming practices." Within this rulemaking, the bill would require EPA and the Corps to include haying and pasturing as normal farming practices.
- Prohibit lands certified by USDA as prior-converted or commenced-converted lands from being "recaptured" into the Clean Water Act.
- Protect farmer property rights by prohibiting agency interpretations if there is regulatory ambiguity when making a wetlands determination.