WOTUS repeal welcomed by some farmers, ag groups, lawmakers
June 27, 2017
WASHINGTON — The following is a statement from Texas farmer Wesley Spurlock, president of the National Corn Growers Association, in response to today's announcement of the proposal to repeal the 2015 Waters of the U.S. Rule:
"The goal of the Clean Water Act is to restore and maintain the integrity of the nation's waters. The 2015 rule moved us further away from that goal. Repealing it is an important first step toward providing farmers the certainty and clarity we have long desired.
"We are thankful this Administration is working to draw clear lines in terms of what is and what is not jurisdictional under the Clean Water Act. In doing so, they will enable farmers to implement best management practices such as grass waterways and buffer strips without the burden of bureaucratic red tape or fear of legal action. These types of land improvements have enormous water quality benefits, such as reducing sediment and nutrient runoff — a win for farmers and the environment. Government should be making these actions easier, not more difficult.
"We salute the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers for their efforts. We stand committed to working with these agencies as they develop a new rule that defines jurisdictional boundaries in clear terms that are inclusive of the realities of farming."
Earlier this year, President Trump issued Executive Order 13778, directing EPA and USACE to review the final 2015 WOTUS rule, and publish for notice and comment a proposed rule rescinding or revising the rule, as appropriate and consistent with law. Today's announcement is the next step in that process.
"WOTUS was one of the most flagrant abuses of regulatory power in modern history and threatened the future of agriculture," said Congressman Adrian Smith, R-Neb. "I was pleased to join President Trump at the White House in February when he signed the executive order directing the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to go back to the drawing board on WOTUS. Today's repeal proposal is another important step toward certainty and relief for producers, landowners and local communities."
"The proposal to rescind this flawed rule is a step in the right direction," said Ken Hamilton, WyFB executive vice president. "This rule was a land grab that put property rights of Wyomingites at risk and would have done nothing to benefit water."
"We are hopeful the EPA will keep in mind the uniqueness of each state and work with the states rather than continuing to dictate rules with the goal of controlling property rights," Hamilton continued.