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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 However, mining corporations are still operating under an outdated mining policy (the 1872 Mining Act) that makes sustainability and guaranteed protections against impacts to local water and natural resources anything but a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") - Page 2

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New Clean Water Act Ruling and Agriculture ("Waters of the US")
Page 2
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What are Colorado ranchers and farmers are saying about the new rule?

"The Clean Water Act has been critical to protecting our water resources in western Colorado. The new rule will provide much-needed clarifications for industry and agriculture while also addressing the very real and important clean water challenges we face as farmers and small business owners," Jeff Schwartz, farmer and business owner, Delicious Orchards and Big B's, Hotchkiss, Colorado.

"Our farm and our community rely on clean, safe drinking water, as well as balanced water policy. We believe the Environmental Protection Agency's new clean water rule ruling represents a thoughtful, common-sense approach to maintaining downstream water resources for the long term," Yvon Gros & Joanna Reckert, Leroux Creek Vineyards, Paonia, Colorado.

"I can't think of any other issue that's as apolitical as clean water. It's something we all count on. On our farm, we certainly don't take water resources for granted. We appreciate the efforts by Secretary Vilsack and Administrator McCarthy toward protecting not just our drinking water but the water and health of our lakes, streams and rivers," Devin Eames, second-generation farmer and winegrower, Afred Eames Cellars, Paonia, Colorado.

"From my ranch you can actually see the importance of the new clean water ruling … to farmers, sportsmen and rural communities. Standing headwaters of the Troublesome Creek on my ranch you can clearly see how what happens upstream affects my neighbors and community downstream. The new ruling is not just balanced water policy, but just plain common sense," Rich Kaup, fifth-generation rancher and farmer, Troublesome Creek Farms, Golden, Colorado.

"The new clean water rule will result in cleaner water in Colorado and the West. Like so many others I've spoken with over the years, I saw no rationale for how limiting the [Clean Water] Act to just 'navigable' waters served our interests … for agriculture, local communities or the countless Americans who use enjoy our streams, rivers and bodies of water," Bill Eikenberry, third-generation rancher, Lakewood, Colorado.

"I believe the politically-imposed limitations on the Clean Water Act have severely hampered its effectiveness over the years. Ranchers and farmers like myself will see tangible benefits from the new clean water rule if it is implemented," John Kretsinger, rancher and farmer, KW Farms, Alamosa, Colorado.

"On behalf of the water and shared natural resources that we all rely on, I believe the EPA and USDA should move forward with the clean water ruling as soon as possible. I hope our elected representatives in Colorado are also working to ensure this outcome," Joe Livingston, Big Beaver Ranch, Meeker, Colorado.