Examining the CWA Agricultural Exemption

Natural Resources & Environment Magazine, Winter 2013

2 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2013

See all articles by Chris Erchull

Chris Erchull

Western New England University School of Law

Date Written: March 1, 2013

Abstract

When the Senate was hearing arguments to amend the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1977, the American Farm Bureau Federation voiced its opposition to “the use of a permit system for the regulation of farming activities.” Because there were more than two million farms in the United States at the time, regulating day-to-day farming practices across the country was an implausible task for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Furthermore, farms were believed to have a minimal ecological impact. Ultimately, the agricultural industry prevailed. In an effort to balance competing interests, the notorious 404(f) exemption was born, allowing discharge into wetlands in the course of “normal farming activities” without requiring a permit, so long as the use of the land remains consistent.

Suggested Citation

Erchull, Chris, Examining the CWA Agricultural Exemption (March 1, 2013). Natural Resources & Environment Magazine, Winter 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2357707

Chris Erchull (Contact Author)

Western New England University School of Law ( email )

1215 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01119
United States

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