ARTICLE

Fact Checker: New EPA clean water rules

Joni Ernst, candidate for the Republican nomination for the US Senate race, speaks to supporters during a campaign event in the ballroom at the Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids on Friday, May 30, 2014. (Liz Martin/The Gazette-KCRG-TV9)
Joni Ernst, candidate for the Republican nomination for the US Senate race, speaks to supporters during a campaign event in the ballroom at the Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids on Friday, May 30, 2014. (Liz Martin/The Gazette-KCRG-TV9)

Introduction

“Before they put in a terrace, before they planted a tree, they would have to go to the federal government and basically ask for permission” under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Waters of the U.S. rule.

Source of claim

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, a Red Oak Republican running for U.S. Senate in a Sept. 28 debate

Analysis

The Waters of the U.S. proposal would clarify the federal Clean Water Act, adopted in 1972, to specifically protect streams and wetlands. The proposed rules have caused confusion among some farmers and ranchers.

The Ernst campaign pointed to a statement by the American Farm Bureau Association that questions whether specific farming practices, such as building terraces or ponds, are included among farming activities that have always been exempt.

Ken Kopocis, deputy assistant administrator for water at the EPA, said the proposal does not change the exemption for “normal farming and ranching — including planting, harvesting and moving livestock.” The proposal does not regulate new types of ditches, does not apply to groundwater and does not change the exemption for stock ponds, he said in an email to the Fact Checker.

“It is absolutely not true that farmers would need the federal government’s permission to plant a tree,” added Robert Daguillard, a spokesman for the EPA.

Conclusion

We give the truthfulness of Ernst’s claim about the EPA’s proposed rule an F .

Sources

Farm Bureau statement

EPA’s clarification on Waters of US

Watch the Sept. 28, Ernst-Braley debate on KCCI: http://www.kcci.com/news/iowa-us-senate-debate/28308438

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