Agricultural leaders in Congress are rejoicing in the announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers that they will modify the definition of the ‘Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule to ensure it is meets President Trump’s executive order issues in February of this year.
“Clear rules and clean water-that’s what the EPA should stand for,” said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, of Texas. He says it is the next step to replacing the burdensome 2015 rule and creating streamlined and simplified rules for landowners.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue also applauded the EPA and Corps of Engineers review.
“When I meet with men and women of American agriculture, one of their chief concerns is always the overreach of federal regulations,” Perdue said. “The WOTUS rule is regularly singled out as particularly egregious, as it impedes the use of their own land and stifles productivity. Farmers and ranchers are exceptional stewards of the environment, and states have their own standards as well. This welcome action from the EPA and Army Corps will help bring clarity to Clean Water Act regulations and help farmers know where federal jurisdiction begins and ends. President Trump is making good on his promise to reduce burdensome regulations to free our producers to do what they do best – feed, fuel, and clothe this nation and the world.”
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig also reflected on the proposed, revised definition of Waters of the U.S. rule.
“I am encouraged by the proposed WOTUS rule released by EPA today. I appreciate their effort to listen to farmers and other stakeholders and address their legitimate concerns about the previous rule,” Naig said. “It is critically important that farmers, businesses and communities have greater certainty and predictability around what is and what is not covered by the rule. Now is an opportunity for all stakeholders to take the time to closely review the new rule and provide input during the 60 day comment period.”
Timing of agency release of further updates is unknown at this time.