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WOTUS is still on the books

Source: Clean Water Iowa

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spooked the agricultural community in 2015 when it began to move clean water regulations through the agency under the name of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS).

The EPA had jurisdiction on navigable rivers and the waters that adjoin them, but did not have control of small streams and other water sources only present during and after rainfall events.

The courts blocked WOTUS. The Trump Administration then came in with views that aligned with landowners, according to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). However, WOTUS in its previous form is still alive. It has to have further action to be repealed, or replaced, or it can go into effect and regulate literally all waters and reach most landowners.

Since then, organizations like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association have been lobbying against the bill on Capitol Hill and in the courts. A court ordered stay suspended the rule for a while, as the new Trump Administration mobilized its efforts to repeal and replace the Obama era remnant. However, a recent decision by a South Carolina judge reversed that stay, resurrecting the 2015 WOTUS and making it the law of the land once again for more than 20 states – including Oklahoma.

Work by the Trump EPA continues to advance its agenda that, in rare form, actually aligns with that of agricultural producers – to revamp the WOTUS rule and tone down its policies that infringe on private property rights. Scott Yager, chief environmental counsel for NCBA, spoke with Ron Hays from the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network.

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