Guest Editorial:What Else Could EPA be Hiding?

Published on Tue, 09/02/2014 - 3:09pm

As many cattlemen and women know all too well, one of the greatest threats our industry faces is regulation from Washington, D.C. And for many years now, the industry has braced for a rule-making by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers that would substantially impact all uses and users of land, not just farming and ranching. That rule-making came this spring in the form of the EPA and Corps’ Waters of the United States proposed rule, or WOTUS.
We have worked closely with our members, our state affiliates, and coalitions of not only other agriculture groups but land use groups to send a strong message to the Administration to ditch this rule. We have encouraged every landowner to submit comments directly to the EPA on this proposed rule, which would have a detrimental effect on land use nationwide. Under the proposed rule, millions of acres nationwide would fall under EPA jurisdiction, requiring Clean Water Act permits for almost any activity on these lands. And finally, we have direct from EPA maps that show the extent of their proposed “land grab.”
The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology released maps of waters and wetlands the EPA had for months refrained from making public. These maps paint an astonishing picture of the scope and breadth of the EPA’s proposed rule and should send a clear signal to cattlemen and women of the EPA’s intent. But it wasn’t until after multiple requests, that the Agency finally handed over the maps to the Committee.
Knowledge of the maps initially came as the Committee was doing research in preparation for a hearing regarding the proposed “waters of the United States” rule. It is deplorable that EPA, who claims to be providing transparency in rule-making, would intentionally keep from the American public, a taxpayer-funded visual representation of the reach of their proposed rule. This unfortunately is just another blatant contradiction to the claims of transparency this Administration insists they maintain.
These maps are very similar to the maps produced by NCBA and other agricultural groups, which also showcase the EPA’s extensive attempt to control land across the country. Under conservative estimates, these maps show individual states facing upwards of 100,000 additional stream miles under regulation.
The maps released by the Science, Space and Technology Committee, show that EPA knew exactly what they were doing and knew exactly how expansive their proposal was before they published it.
The maps are available to the public now on the House Science Space and Technology Committee website (
If you have not yet submitted comments directly to the EPA, I urge you to make your voice heard. The deadline is rapidly approaching and a strong voice from the countryside is the most effective tool we have. You can submit your comments online using the link on

Bob McCan of Victoria, Texas, is the 2014 NCBA President and oversees the cattle operations and recreational hunting and wildlife operations for his family’s company, McFaddin Enterprises, Ltd. in Victoria, Refugio, and Bee Counties. Bob and his wife Julie have two children, who are the sixth generation of their family to work on the McFaddin Ranch.