BASE is working daily to continue to educate our members, local governments, allies and the general public about the proposed changes to Waters of the United States and “wetlands” rules. These rule changes, proposed by the EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers in April, would have a significant impact nationally but especially in southeastern North Carolina. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW: the rules will impact not just rivers and streams BUT ALSO ditches (!) and areas of dry land which may be near rivers, oceans and wet areas.
One environmental expert called the rules the biggest expansion of EPA regulatory jurisdiction since the Clean Water Act was signed into law by President Nixon. The scientific report on which the rules are based suggests a significant expansion of what constitutes a wetland. Instead of meeting all 3 criteria (soils, hydrology and vegetation), a wetland would only have to meet 1. To illustrate how this would impact our area, the map above shows areas in NC that have soils that would qualify them as “wetlands” under the proposed rules.
In addition to this change, the new rules create new terms such as tributary, neighboring and adjacent and would expand regulation into dry areas including ditches. When you consider the change to “wetlands” and the expansion of new terms and jurisdiction, there is significant reason for concern.
WE NEED YOUR HELP! Educate your business partners, landowners and others in the industry. Provide BASE with specific examples of how this rule will impact land, property and future investment. Public comment is open until October 2014. For more information, go to http://ncbase.org/news/new-waters-of-the-us-proposal.html