Lawrence, Kan. (Sept. 8, 2104) – The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) has joined with more than 35 other national associations and organizations to be part of the Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC) to voice concern about the proposed “Waters of the U.S.” regulation.
The coalition, which includes golf industry groups such as PGA of America, Club Managers Association of America, American Society of Golf Course Architects, Golf Course Builders Association of America, National Club Association and National Golf Course Owners Association, has voiced concern to state and federal policymakers about expanding jurisdiction of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).
In April 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jointly released a proposed rule to expand the definition of WOTUS for all CWA programs. The proposed changes would significantly add federal control of land and water resources in the U.S., triggering substantial additional permitting and regulatory requirements. The WAC is interested in overturning the WOTUS rule as it is currently proposed.
“We support the Clean Water Act and can see that there is a need to clarify some of the jurisdictional questions, but this proposed regulation goes too far. It is not the answer. It would bring unnecessary challenges to everyone, not just the golf industry,” said Mark Johnson, associate director, environmental programs, for GCSAA.
“It is already in the best interest of industry leadership to responsibly manage golf courses using science-based best management practices to provide healthy turf. Golf courses that incorporate best management practices are valuable green spaces within communities and any watershed.”
If adopted, WOTUS could come to include all drainage ditches, storm water ditches and water storage or treatment ponds on golf courses. The effect would add regulatory burdens and costs that would keep golf course managers from tending to routine erosion control and utilizing best management practices for environmental stewardship – the exact opposite of what is intended. Generally, it could also lead to an increase in the cost of goods and services in the economy.
The WAC also represents the industry voices for agriculture, construction, energy, forestry and wildlife conservation, all of which would be affected.
“The golf industry is a leader for water quality and environmental stewardship,” said Chava McKeel, associate director, government relations, for GCSAA. “This proposed rule hinders the golf industry in moving forward toward even stronger best management practices.”
As part of its ongoing outreach, WAC will draft additional legal and economic analyses before the comment period on the proposed regulation closes at the end of October. Golf industry groups will also submit comments to the federal docket.
Other prominent members of the WAC include: American Farm Bureau Federation,American Forest & Paper Association, American Gas Association, Associated General Contractors of America, International Council of Shopping Centers, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and National Mining Association.
About GCSAA and the EIFG
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) is a leading golf organization in the United States. Its focus is on golf course management, and since 1926 GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the U.S. and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. Visit GCSAA at www.gcsaa.org or find us on Facebook or Twitter.
The Environmental Institute for Golf is the philanthropic organization of the GCSAA. Its mission is to foster sustainability through research, awareness, education, programs and scholarships for the benefit of golf course management professionals, golf facilities and the game. Visit EIFG at www.eifg.org or find us on Facebook or Twitter.