Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Farm groups applaud action to rescind WOTUS

Farm groups are applauding the Trump administration's move to scrap the "Waters of the U.S." rule. From the National Corn Growers Association:
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. (WOTUS) 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.
From the National Potato Council:
The National Potato Council (NPC) supports today’s proposed rule by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would rescind the definition of “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA) proposed by the Obama Administration in 2015.

“NPC applauds the proposed rule, which seeks to remedy an unnecessary federal overreach,” said John Keeling, CEO and EVP of NPC. “NPC has gone on record as a strong supporter of reducing regulatory burdens that inhibit growers’ ability to farm. Revoking this flawed WOTUS proposal is a positive step toward that goal.”

The 2015 rule massively expanded the scope of the CWA to areas of the U.S., including farms, that are unrelated to its original goals and thereby subjected growers to potential regulatory jeopardy. In response, federal courts had stepped in to prevent immediate implementation of the WOTUS Rule and NPC is pleased that the Administration followed through on rescinding the rule.

“We urge the Administration and Congress to implement the CWA and other environmental regulations in a manner that protects America’s resources while limiting unintended consequences on activities that are unrelated to those goals,” said Mr. Keeling.
The Capital Press' Carol Ryan Dumas is preparing a detailed story on the move and reactions. Watch for it at CapitalPress.com.

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