East Texans join debate over water rights - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

East Texans join debate over water rights

Rancher and Texas Farm Bureau Board President Hyman Boozer concerned about excessive regulation Rancher and Texas Farm Bureau Board President Hyman Boozer concerned about excessive regulation
Debate over changing the definition of 'Waters of the United States' is underway Debate over changing the definition of 'Waters of the United States' is underway
EPA and Corps of engineers wants to clarify and streamline definition of U.S. waterways EPA and Corps of engineers wants to clarify and streamline definition of U.S. waterways
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Federal agencies are proposing changes to the definition in the clean water act and some East Texans oppose the suggestion.

Rancher and Texas Farm Bureau Board President Hyman Boozer, relies on stock ponds and flowing water to sustain livestock. Consequently, he joins Texas Farm Bureau's opposition to redefining 'waters of the united states' in the Clean Water Act.

“It can include anything from streams, ponds, even the streams brought about after a rain,” Boozer said.

Currently CWA regulates navigable streams, a term with broad interpretation. The proposed changes specifically define what is and isn't waters of the U.S.  This is helpful to environmental attorneys, including environmental & water issue attorney Rick Lowerre of Austin.

“First the clarity is going to help in avoid litigation and getting things clear for people who want to develop and for people who are concerned about development,” Lowerre said.

The Texas Farm Bureau contends the proposed changes will lead to unnecessary regulatory burdens and excessive fines.

“They could even include ponds and restrict us where our cattle could water out of the ponds. It could also include anything like construction and everyday activities that go on a ranch. They would be we required to get a permit,” Boozer said.

Proponents say the restriction is a protection.

“Most people think of it as it's a restriction on what I can do on my property and that's bad, but if you think of it as a restriction on what somebody might do on the adjacent property that's good. So, it's got to find that proper balance,” Lowerre said.

Perhaps the proper balance will be discovered during the public comment period currently underway.

The Nacogdoches County Commissioners Court recently passed a resolution opposing the proposed rules.

Copyright 2014 KTRE. All rights reserved.
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