Gus Douglas, the long standing Commissioner of Agriculture in West Virginia reported some good news in his April 2012 update.
“In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court last month settled the dispute over ownership of streambeds and stream banks, ruling that landowners, not government, are the rightful owners. President Bob Stallman said farmers and ranchers prevailed with the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of landowner property rights in the case PPL v. Montana. …It was further noted that this decision helps ensure farmers and ranchers will not have to pay the government for use of land or water from streambeds that run alongside or through their property. This ruling is for farmers and ranchers nationwide and all private property owners.”
Secondly, “The court recognized that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was arbitrary in assuming that any increase above pristine nutrient levels is harmful. …To further reinforce landowner rights a U.S. District Court in Tallahassee, Florida, has ruled that the EPA-imposed numeric nutrient criteria for Florida streams and unimpaired lakes are unlawful because they are arbitrary and have no scientific basis. This good news was reported in the FBNews, March 5, 2012.”
With all freedom comes responsibility. It is farmers’ and ranchers’ job to go to any length necessary protect the quality of the water that so much depends on, both on the farm and beyond.