Fenner town board clarifies: It opposes Clean Water Act resolution verbiage, not clean water

— The Fenner Town Board has received a lot of community feedback and concern during the past month about its June resolution to oppose New York state’s Clean Water Act Resolution, with many residents asking board members why they oppose clean water, Town Supervisor Dave Jones said during the board’s July 10 regular monthly meeting.

Jones made a brief statement at the meeting that what the board opposes is the specific language of the law that, not its intent — an opposition shared by the New York Farm Bureau, the National Association of Counties and six Upstate New York Congressional members.

“It’s the verbiage of the law that needs to be changed; and the state is looking into it,” Jones said. “It’s not that we oppose clean water.”

The Clean Water Act resolution was created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps Engineers to ensure that only clean water flows into the Chesapeake Bay, New York state’s water outlet. The law has come under fire, however, for its confusing language and the fact that it would require not just municipalities but also farmers to obtain permits for simple and everyday actions such as cleaning out ditches and draining standing water.

The Fenner Town Board members stated that the new rule would create unnecessary and burdensome interference by the federal government.

It was reported last week that EPA officials have recently agreed with the criticisms and said the proposed rule needs clarification.

Also at the meeting, the board unanimously agreed to submit a letter of support for the Cazenovia Preservation Foundation’s current efforts to obtain a Farmland Protection Grant for the Pushlar Farm, located on Fenner Road, the acreage of which is located in both the towns of Cazenovia and Fenner. The grant would protect the farm’s land from any future subdivision for non-agricultural uses in perpetuity.

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