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Agriculture and U.S. Renewable Energy Policy Agriculture and national energy policy are inextricably linked. The growth of the renewable energy sector is not only an important part of creating energy independence, but represents opportunities for ranchers and farmers to add to their bottom lines. Below are some renewable energy provisions that should be a part of our national energy policy.   If implemented, the below policies would allow ranchers and farmers to diversify their income and cut costs, while increasing their energy efficiency:
Mining - Federal Mining Policy and the West Why mining is important When done right, mining can represent a valuable economic resource for local communities. However, mining corporations are still operating under an outdated mining policy (the 1872 Mining Act) that makes sustainability and guaranteed protections against impacts to local water and natural resources anything but a guarantee.  For example, the Environmental Protection Agency has named mining the country’s top toxic polluter for nine straight years now.  According to the report, mining has contaminated 40 percent of the headwaters of western watersheds.
Wilderness In 1964 Congress passed the Wilderness Act to protect a small segment of our most unique and cherished public lands in their original character. Currently about 2% of public lands in the lower 48 are classified as wilderness. These areas are free of road building, dams, permanent structures, logging, motorized vehicles, new mining claims and mineral leasing. Hunting, fishing and grazing is permitted in wilderness.

New Clean Water Act Ruling and Agriculture ("Waters of the US")

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New Clean Water Act Ruling and Agriculture ("Waters of the US")
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New Clean Water Act Ruling ("Waters of the U.S.")

The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a clarification of the Clean Water Act, following years of confusion around what bodies of water should and should not be protected.

The new ruling targets the third of US water resources currently too toxic for swimming, fishing or drinking, and is based on an exhaustive study on the relevance of tributary and ephemeral bodies of water to the health and safety of overall water resources in the US. Everyone agrees that national, state and local water policy can be extremely complex, especially when they overlap. The clarifications by the EPA could go a long way to simplifying and making more relevant American water policy for agricultural producers and businesses while also making our water cleaner and safer. Here's a video of ranchers and farmers in Colorado, sponsored by Land Stewards and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, a fact sheet by National Farmers Union and an ad in Colorado newspapers.