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BrownfieldAgNews reports:

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is defending the proposed EPA rule relating to the Clean Water Act.

"I think we still have conversation to work through-and I think it's very easy for people to get stirred up about a regulation," Vilsack says. "If they really read the regulation-if they really spend some time thinking about it-I think what they're going to find is that this is a significant improvement over what we had before."

Vilsack was referring to criticism from some farm groups who say the proposed rule expands the EPA's jurisdiction to include ditches and ponds and will require new permits for certain agricultural practices.

Vilsack says that is not the case.

"We asked the EPA to make sure that they didn't do anything to make more difficult the regulation on ditches, on tile drainage, on lagoons, on stormwater ponds, on artificial ponds that are created for some production processes like rice. They were happy to do that," he says.

Vilsack made those comments during a weekend appearance on Iowa Public Television's Iowa Press program.

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