EPA declines to regulate polluted water transfers

Corporate farms and other businesses would not need to obtain a Clean Water Act permit in many water-transfer cases, under a rule proposed by the U.S. EPA yesterday. The rule would apply regardless of how polluted the water is — but hey, corporate farming always produces clean water, right? Coincidentally, only not, the EPA proposal comes during a pending Florida court case which pits a Native American tribe and a green group against a water district and the sugar industry. Guess which side the EPA is taking? Before the case went to trial, the agency reversed earlier legal opinions by declaring water transfers the responsibility of state and local managers. The rule could also affect an imminent federal court decision regarding transfer of polluted water into Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. EPA water guy Benjamin Grumbles called the rule — which will soon be subject to a 45-day public-comment period — “the best, holistic reading of the Clean Water Act.” Is this really what holism has come to?