Fresh start for clean water and clear rules: A victory for farmers and ranchers
The administration’s announcement of a fresh start for clean water and clear rules is a victory for farmers and ranchers, according to the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation.
“As farmers and ranchers, we share the goal of protecting the nation’s water, but the 2015 Waters of the United States rule was unreasonable and unworkable,” said Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation President Todd Fornstrom. “It made conservation more difficult and created huge liabilities for farmers.”
The administration’s announcement follows a multi-year effort by the American Farm Bureau, state Farm Bureaus and an array of allies to finalize a new rule that protects the nation’s waters and provides clear rules for states, farmers, ranchers and small businesses to follow.
According to Fornstrom, Farm Bureau members have a deep interest in water quality. “Farm Bureau members deeply value protecting water resources because their farms and ranches are water-dependent enterprises. On a personal level, I am deeply protective of water quality because I raised my family drinking from a well on our farm. Simply put, farmers and ranchers need water, which is why their farms and ranches typically are located on lands where there is abundant rainfall or at least adequate water available for irrigation,” Fornstrom said.
Fornstrom said it is essential to preserve the Clean Water Act’s partnership among federal, state and local regulators.
“The CWA requires the federal government to work hand-in-hand with states, because the federal government cannot and should not regulate every single wet feature in every community,” he said. “This fresh start for clean water and clear rules will put us one step closer to drawing clear lines between waters of the U.S. and waters of the state and strengthening the cooperative federalism Congress envisioned and that the Supreme Court has long recognized as fundamental to the Clean Water Act.”
“No regulation is perfect, and no rule can accommodate every concern, but the 2015 rule was especially egregious,” Fornstrom said. “We are relieved to put it behind us. We are now working to ensure a fair and reasonable substitute that protects our water and our ability to work and care for the land.”