Environmental law and regulation entails enforcement actions by both federal and state agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, and state environmental authorities. Federal and state government are becoming more directly involved in the regulation of routine farming practices.

On the Federal front, the Clean Water Act (CWA) will likely be increasingly relevant to farmers in the near future. Significant fines can be assessed by the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency when it is determined that farmers have discharged fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands, without obtaining a permit as required by Section 404 of the CWA. While many normal farming practices are exempt from Section 404, disputes can arise with the government as to what land constitutes a “wetland” and as to what farming practices are “normal farming practices.”

Under the CWA, EPA has implemented pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for industry. EPA has also developed national water quality criteria recommendations for pollutants in surface waters.

If you have questions regarding environmental regulation of your farm operation, contact Ark Ag Law at (870) 747-3813 or at the Little Rock office at 501-320-5118. Ark Ag Law will handle actions involving the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers as well as state regulatory and permitting authorities.