Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Farm groups applaud Trump's move to nix 'waters' rule

Numerous farm groups are praising President Donald Trump's order that the Environmental Protection Agency halt its implementation of the "waters of the United States" rule.

Here are some of their releases. From Western Growers:
In response to President Trump’s executive order regarding the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule released during former President Obama’s administration, Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif issued the following statement:

“The health of our nation’s water is of paramount importance to Western Growers and its 2,500 members who grow more than half of the country’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts. Our collective livelihoods depend on the abundant availability of clean water, which has been protected over the years by the reasonable application of the Clean Water Act.

“However, we believe the 2015 WOTUS rule exceeded the federal government’s jurisdiction as defined by Congress in the Act, which only intended to give the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority over navigable waterways affecting interstate commerce. Indeed, this interpretation has been confirmed by the Supreme Court in Rapanos v. United States.

“We are pleased with President Trump’s executive order directing the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to formally reconsider WOTUS. While we recognize this order will not immediately repeal the rule, it will provide adequate space for these federal agencies to engage state and local governments to craft an alternative solution that both fits within the boundaries prescribed in the Act and serves the best interests of the environment and key stakeholders.

“More importantly, we believe the order should spur Congress toward much-needed legislation clarifying the reach and extent of federal jurisdiction under the Act. Since the Rapanos decision, there has been significant inconsistency in interpretation and application of the Act, which has resulted in harmful unintended economic consequences for landowners. After decades of inactivity, we call on Congress to enact legislation defining the limits of the Clean Water Act.”
From the California Farm Bureau Federation:
Welcoming President Trump’s executive order for review of a disputed Clean Water Act rule, the president of the California Farm Bureau Federation said he hopes today’s action leads to a more cooperative approach to environmental regulation.

“California farmers and ranchers pride themselves in the care they show for the land, water and other resources entrusted to them,” CFBF President Paul Wenger said. “We want to work cooperatively to maintain and improve our land, not to be subject to confusing and sometimes contradictory rules from government agencies.

“We’re encouraged by the Trump administration’s action to roll back the ‘waters of the United States’ rule,” Wenger said. “At the same time, we recognize the executive order as the first step in what could be a long process to undo the confusion brought by the WOTUS rule.

“Ultimately, the goal should be to provide farmers and ranchers—in California and elsewhere—the freedom to farm their land productively and with environmental certainty, while pursuing compliance with the Clean Water Act through incentives rather than coercion.”

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 48,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.
From the National Cattlemen's Beef Association:
Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today released the following statement in response to President Trump’s executive action ordering the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider their controversial Waters of the United States rule:

“This extremely flawed rule would force ranchers and feedlot operators to get permits or risk excessive federal penalties despite being miles away from any navigable water. It would be one of the largest federal land grabs and private-property infringements in American history, and the President should be applauded for making EPA and the Corps reconsider this debacle. Ultimately, this rule should be taken out behind the barn and put out of its misery.”
From the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives:
The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) welcomed President Trump’s executive action today moving in a new direction on defining “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Executive Order issued today will start a review and revision process to replace the WOTUS rule. That rule was issued in 2015 and then promptly became the subject of numerous lawsuits.

“In issuing the WOTUS rule in 2015, the Obama Administration greatly expanded federal jurisdiction over lands that Congress never intended to be regulated by the Clean Water Act. President Trump’s action today corrects that overreach and sets the stage for a more deliberate and reasonable approach in defining what is a WOTUS,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC. “A new approach can ensure that Americans can enjoy clean water while limiting the rule’s impact on upland areas and isolated waters.”

The 2015 WOTUS rule raised numerous concerns for states, local governments, landowners, and the regulated community, leading to legal challenges by over thirty states, numerous industry groups and environmentalist groups on both procedural and substantive grounds. The District Court of North Dakota and the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the rule because they believe that the rule is flawed and that the challengers of the rule would “likely succeed on the merits” of the case.

“Farmer cooperatives look forward to working with the Administration to develop a new rule that fully protects water quality while keeping CWA implementation within the bounds of congressional intent and Supreme Court precedent,” Conner added. “We fully endorse the goal of the CWA to keep pollutants out of our nation’s waters, and look forward to a rulemaking that supports our longstanding and ongoing efforts to achieve that goal.”
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