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Agricultural News


Ag Groups Encouraged by New WOTUS Rule- Look Forward to Reviewing the Details in Proposal

Tue, 11 Dec 2018 17:26:06 CST

Ag Groups Encouraged by New WOTUS Rule- Look Forward to Reviewing the Details in Proposal Reaction to EPA and the Army Corp Engineers releasing the proposed Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule is very positive within the Ag community. Here are some of the comments:


The President of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, Weston Givens offers this reaction:

“OCA is very pleased to see the opportunity for a new and better water rule. The old WOTUS was a terrible breach of private property rights against Oklahoma cattle producers. I remember well 2015 OCA President Richard Gebhart reporting how the acting EPA Administrator publicly stated that within the 2015 WOTUS, EPA would ‘allow us to keep farming and ranching’. I know Richard would be happy to see the positive work that has been done to come to this new rule. OCA looks forward to working with EPA, Congress and Oklahoma Agriculture organizations to move this new rule forward.”


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Today’s the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers released a new proposed Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule which redefines the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act more narrowly and provides clarity to what is required of landowners. Oklahoma Wheat farmer and NAWG President Jimmie Musick issued the following statement:

“NAWG is encouraged by today’s action by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to increase clarity and transparency around the Waters of the U.S. regulation.

“Wheat growers know the importance of protecting our resources in order to sustain our farming operations and feed a growing world population. However, we need regulatory certainty, so we can remain in compliance with the law.

“We believe the new proposed rule does just this and reduces ambiguity in the law. We welcome the new proposed rule and plan on submitting comments.”


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State Farm Bureau presidents from across the nation attended an event today at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington to witness the signing of the proposed Clean Water Rule. The following statement regarding the new Clean Water Rule can be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.

“Farmers and ranchers work every day to protect our nation’s waterways and drinking water. For more than five years we have advocated for a new water rule that protects clean water and provides clear rules for people and communities to follow. This new rule will empower farmers and ranchers to comply with the law, protect our water resources and productively work their land without having to hire an army of lawyers and consultants.

“We want to protect land and water in the communities where we live and work. Clean water is our way of life. Preserving our land and protecting our water means healthy places to live, work and play. We believe this new Clean Water Rule is rooted in common-sense. It will protect our nation’s water resources and allow farmers to farm.

“We appreciate the months of hard work that the administration, especially the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, invested in making sure the new Clean Water Rule was done right. Unlike the 2015 WOTUS rule, this new rule protects our resources, respects the law and provides greater clarity so the agencies and the public can identify regulated federal waterways. We will further analyze this new rule in the coming days and will suggest further refinements during the comment period.”

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Robert McKnight, Jr., president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) release of a new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule:

“We thank the EPA and Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler for fulfilling the administration’s pledge to rewrite the onerous Obama-era WOTUS law. Their commitment to creating a new rule that is easily interpreted by property owners and that limits federal intrusion on private property rights signals that the new proposal is moving in the right direction. However, as with any rule of this scope and magnitude, it will take some time to thoroughly review the plan and ensure cattle producers are not needlessly burdened as they would have been under the previous version.

“We look forward to reviewing the rule and providing comments to the EPA on its impact to cattle producers and property owners.”

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NCBA President Kevin Kester today released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s announcement of a new proposed water rule:

“After years of uncertainty stemming from the 2015 WOTUS rule, the Trump Administration’s new water rule represents a fresh start for America’s cattle producers. NCBA advocated for a new water rule that is easy to understand and implement. The Administration listened. The proposed water rule provides safeguards to keep our waters clean and clear rules for landowners to follow. We look forward to engaging with the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to finalize the rule.”


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The National Cotton Council (NCC) appreciates the hard work by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) in drafting the proposed Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule that was released today.

When finalized, this rule, Revised Definition of “Waters of the United States,” will replace the onerous 2015 WOTUS rule that threatens to wrest control of vast tracts of land from farmers, landowners and businesses. While the new rule still will protect waters of the United States, it will more strictly define and clarify what is covered by federal regulations and what is not covered. It also will provide relief from burdensome over regulation of non-navigable waters such as roadside and farm ditches.

The NCC will review the proposal and submit comments to EPA and the COE during the comment period.


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The American Soybean Association (ASA) is pleased that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers have developed a proposed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that takes into account comments by ASA and other impacted stakeholders that aim to protect our waterways while offering a workable solution for farmers. Soybean producers appreciate the significance of clean water and strive to be responsible stewards of our water, land and environment. But it is important that any policies be in line with the intent of the law and the rulings of the Supreme Court—to protect our resources through responsible and practical rules and regulations.

ASA president and soybean farmer from Clinton, Ky, Davie Stephens said, “We appreciate the work done by the EPA and the Army Corps to provide regulatory certainty to farmers and landowners by clearly outlining the regulated bodies of waters, defining the terms, and remaining within the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act (CWA).”

Stephens continued that, “While ASA will review the rule in greater detail before submitting formal comments, we are pleased that it is based on the standard set out by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in Rapanos v. United States that the CWA should apply only to ‘navigable waters’ connected by a surface flow at least part of the year, with other waters to be regulated by the states.”

ASA looks forward to commenting on the proposed rule and working toward a policy that protects U.S. waters without going beyond the jurisdiction of the law or placing an undue burden on soybean farmers and private landowners.

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National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp made the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) release of the new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The new rule replaces the 2015 WOTUS rule that would have increased regulatory burdens and costs for farmers.

“Farmers rely on clean water and are committed to protecting our environment and the communities where we live and work. With a clear understanding of what is and is not jurisdictional under the Clean Water Act, farmers can implement stewardship practices such as grass waterways and buffer strips without the burden of bureaucratic red tape or the fear of legal action.

“NCGA looks forward to fully reviewing the new WOTUS rule to ensure that it provides clear jurisdictional boundaries to farmers, protects our nation’s water and can be implemented without confusion.”

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U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today praised the announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers that they are fulfilling President Trump’s pledge to repeal and replace the Waters of the United States rule.

Perdue issued the following statement:

“When I meet with the men and women of American agriculture, one of their chief concerns is always the overreach of federal regulations. The WOTUS rule is regularly singled out as particularly egregious, as it impedes the use of their own land and stifles productivity. Farmers and ranchers are exceptional stewards of the environment, and states have their own standards as well. This welcome action from the EPA and Army Corps will help bring clarity to Clean Water Act regulations and help farmers know where federal jurisdiction begins and ends. President Trump is making good on his promise to reduce burdensome regulations to free our producers to do what they do best – feed, fuel, and clothe this nation and the world.”   


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House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) applauded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed Clean Water Rule, which will review and revise the definition of ‘waters of the United States’ (WOTUS) to ensure it is consistent with President Trump’s February 2017 executive order. Following the announcement Chairman Conaway issued the following remarks:

“Clear rules and clean water – that’s what the EPA should stand for, and today’s announcement marks a hopeful new chapter for farm country. The Trump administration’s proposed definition of “waters of the U.S.” is the next step to replacing the burdensome 2015 WOTUS rule and to creating streamlined and simplified rules for all landowners. I applaud this administration for listening to concerns raised by farmers and ranchers and their representatives in Congress. I am eager to see a rule that restores integrity to the regulatory process and supports American agriculture as it seeks to preserve our natural resources.”

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