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Agricultural News

More Widespread Support for EPA and Army's Navigable Waters Protection Rule - A New Definition of WOTUS

Fri, 24 Jan 2020 12:43:47 CST

More Widespread Support for EPA and Army's  Navigable Waters Protection Rule - A New Definition of WOTUS Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James unveiled a new, clear definition for “waters of the United States.” With the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, EPA and the Department of the Army (Army) are delivering on President Trump’s promise to finalize a revised definition for “waters of the United States” that protects the nation’s navigable waters from pollution and will result in economic growth across the country. Here's what elected officials and stakeholders are saying...


U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue: “President Trump is restoring the rule of law and empowering Americans by removing undue burdens and strangling regulations from the backs of our productive farmers, ranchers, and rural land-owners. The days are gone when the Federal Government can claim a small farm pond on private land as navigable waters. I thank President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for having the backs of our farmers, ranchers, and producers and for continuing to roll back Federal overreach. With reforms and deregulation, Americans once again have the freedom to innovate, create, and grow.”


U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY): “I applaud President Donald Trump, Administrator Wheeler, and Assistant Secretary James for standing up for middle class families in Kentucky. Replacing the Obama EPA’s WOTUS rule with one that protects our waters while also being more workable is a win for farmers and small businesses.”

U.S. Senator John Barrasso, Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (WY): "President Trump is delivering on his promise to give Americans clean water and clear rules. Regulations must follow the law and be easy for Americans to understand. The Trump administration respects the authority Congress gave EPA under the Clean Water Act. The old WOTUS rule put Washington in control of ponds, puddles, and prairie potholes. The punishing regulation was so confusing that property owners and businesses could not determine when permits were needed. Even worse, it inserted Washington into local decision making. This overreach put unfair restrictions on how farmers, ranchers, and landowners could use their property. I will continue to work closely with the Trump administration as it seeks commonsense ways to keep America’s water clean and safe."

U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (KS): “The original ‘WOTUS’ rule was nothing but a severe regulatory over reach. The growing threat farmers were facing from the previous administration’s regulatory warpath would have only added costs to their businesses and stymied their ability to compete. I’m thankful this administration’s rule is a much more reasonable approach to regulation.”

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairwoman, Senate Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations (AK): “I have worked for years to try to prevent federal agencies from massively expanding the definition of the ‘Waters of the United States,’ and I appreciate this administration’s efforts to return to a more reasonable regulation that does not block private construction or harm economic growth. Many states, including my home state of Alaska, already have robust standards that work in tandem with federal requirements to protect water quality. While I am reviewing the details of this final rule, I welcome it and expect it to be a significant improvement over the 2015 Obama-era rule.”

U.S. Senator James Inhofe (OK): “The EPA’s release of this finalized WOTUS replacement rule is welcome news. Today, we can finally put the Obama-era WOTUS rule behind us and put the power back where it belongs, in the hands of the states. Rural states, like Oklahoma, have been severely harmed by the regulatory overreach of the Obama-era WOTUS rule. The agricultural community in Oklahoma was one of the hardest hit-which is why it was one of their top legislative priorities for so long. I’m proud that the threat of the federal government’s land grab is now officially dead.

“Today’s action is yet more proof that the Trump Administration keeps promises, and America is winning because of it. I am proud to have worked with President Trump and EPA Administrator Wheeler to repeal the old rule and I look forward to continue our work of cutting red tape and harmful regulations.”

U.S. Senator Rand Paul (KY): “For years I’ve fought to stop government overreach of regulating every puddle and ditch in America, and just like my Defense of Environment and Property Act, this rule implements reforms to get the government off the backs of our farmers and everyone else who owns land.”

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (IA): “President Trump deserves credit for following through on his promise to repeal this Obama-era rule that would have defined 97 percent of Iowa as a waterway. Giving the federal government the power to regulate nearly all of Iowa would have been an economic catastrophe. My neighbors who farm in Butler County shouldn’t have to get permission from bureaucrats in Washington to move soil on their own land. This was just another example of out-of-touch and ill-conceived government overreach. This new rule will help keep our water and land clean without destroying Iowa’s small businesses and family farming operations.”

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (IA): “For years, Iowans have told me what an egregious overreach Obama’s WOTUS rule was, giving the federal government authority to regulate 97 percent of the land in Iowa. That’s absurd, and it’s why I’ve worked hard to get rid of it. After working relentlessly alongside the Trump Administration, I’m proud that we’ve successfully scrapped this Obama-era rule and are now providing the predictability and certainty our hardworking farmers, manufacturers, and landowners in Iowa deserve. Under President Trump’s leadership, we’ve fought to get the government off the backs of farmers and business owners and have had major wins on trade - like the USMCA, the phase one China deal, and the Japan agreement - all of which are spurring a sense of optimism and economic growth across rural America.”


Governor Pete Ricketts (NE): “Thank you to President Trump and his team for successfully rolling back President Obama’s expansive Waters of the U.S. rule. This new rule builds on the great work the Trump Administration has been doing to cut red tape. The rule respects states’ rights, and protects our farmers and ranchers from federal government overreach.”

Governor Greg Abbott (TX): “I am pleased that President Trump's administration has replaced the unlawful Obama era WOTUS rule that I have been fighting since my time as Attorney General. Like so many job-killing regulations from that era, the 2015 WOTUS rule thumbed its nose at constitutional and statutory limits that constrain the federal government. With today’s action, President Trump and his administration are honoring those limits and declaring a victory for the rule of law on behalf of landowners across the country. I applaud their actions to protect private property rights by ending this unlawful federal power grab.”

Governor Kim Reynolds (IA): “Iowa farmers, families, and property owners will benefit substantially from the redefined ‘Waters of the United States’ (WOTUS) rule. This new rule provides clarity, predictability, and consistency while also balancing environmental protections with the rights and interests of states like ours.
“Under the Obama administration, Iowa suffered from uncertainty, excessive regulation and federal overreach. Those days are gone. “I appreciate President Trump and his administration for fulfilling another promise made by taking the necessary steps to rewrite WOTUS.”

Governor Kevin Stitt (OK): "I am very pleased President Trump continues to fulfill his promises to the American people. The new definition for “Waters of the United States” will provide the much needed regulatory certainty and predictability necessary for protecting waters and keeping our economy growing strong. The new rule restores the proper balance between the federal government and the states as originally envisioned by Congress. We greatly welcome this rule as it will will have many positive impacts for the Great State of Oklahoma."


House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney (WY-AL): "The Obama Administration's attempt to redefine navigable waters was a blatant, unconstitutional power grab aimed at taking federal control over state water laws and private water rights. Thankfully, President Trump and House Republicans made it a top priority to put a stop to this clear abuse of power that threatened precious resources for hardworking ranchers and farmers in Wyoming, and would have devastated our rural economy. I'm pleased to see EPA Administrator Wheeler take the next step to protect our nation's water resources by clearly defining what is and what is not considered 'navigable water.' This new rule, which included input from a wide range of stakeholders, will provide regulatory certainty that respects the water rights of the people of Wyoming."

House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (MO-06): “I commend President Trump for keeping his promise to farmers, small business owners, and communities across the country by replacing the overreaching Obama WOTUS rule. The new rule offers greater certainty and promotes the important partnership between states and the federal government in ensuring we have a healthy environment. I look forward to working with the Administration to see this important rule implemented as intended.”

House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (AR-04): “I’m pleased to see the administration carrying out its promise to scale back overbearing regulations and implement rules that will help rural American communities, not hurt them. I’ve heard from farmers and small business owners across Arkansas who repeatedly run into issues obtaining permits, managing their land, or navigating convoluted procedures. This WOTUS overhaul will restore commonsense regulation, allowing us to steward our nation’s resources without infringing on private citizens’ rights.”

House Committee on Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Greg Walden (OR-02): "For years, farmers and ranchers across Oregon have expressed their concerns to me about the heavy-handed Obama-era definition of WOTUS. They stressed that their intermittent stream or irrigation ditch would be subject to the burden of overreaching federal regulation. The EPA’s new definition of WOTUS will both protect our environment and our rural communities. Today’s announcement is welcome news for rural Oregon. I applaud President Trump and his administration for listening to the concerns of America’s farmers and ranchers and delivering on the promise to revise WOTUS."

House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Ranking Member Frank Lucas (OK-03): "Today’s announcement by the Trump Administration is welcomed news for our nation’s landowners.?While continuing to protect millions of miles of our nation’s waterways from pollution and deterioration, the new rule will provide clarity to the EPA’s regulatory framework and will dramatically reduce overburdensome regulation currently felt by farmers, ranchers, and small business owners. WOTUS, under the Obama Administration, expanded the role of the federal government under the Clean Water Act from navigable and interstate waters to incorporate ditches, ponds, and streams- regardless of how unnavigable or temporary the water may be. At a time when the federal government should have been cutting burdensome red tape, the Obama Administration instead tied the hands of our nation’s farmers and landowners and subjected them to unprecedented federal overreach and divisive litigation. Farmers, ranchers, and landowners of Oklahoma have long been good stewards of their land and the environment. The Trump Administration’s efforts reeling in the scope of the EPA’s regulatory activity back to the original intention of the Clean Water Act not only provides certainty for those who rely on the land to support their families but it also applies a common sense understanding of what constitutes waters of the United States. I commend President Trump and his Administration for keeping their promise to eliminate the previous administration’s rule and for providing a more realistic and certain framework ensuring we have a healthy environment and robust economy."

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Mike Conaway (TX-11): “This rule provides clarity and consistency for landowners affected by the scope of WOTUS jurisdiction. Our nation’s navigable waters will remain well-protected, while farmers and ranchers will no longer be subjected to ambiguous guidelines and regulatory uncertainty. I applaud the Trump Administration’s dedication to getting this rule right, and look forward to finally ending decades of federal overreach on WOTUS.”
Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-01): "The far-reaching Obama-era WOTUS rule greatly expanded the EPA’s regulatory reach into all waters, from designated rivers to your backyard pond to a ditch along the highway. This capricious overreach caused massive confusion and anxiety among landowners, famers, and businesses. I am glad to see this issue finally resolved so states can once again regulate their own waters and private citizens do not have to live in fear."


North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest: "Farmers shouldn't have to worry about the federal government coming after them because of a ditch on their property. I thank President Trump for bringing some common-sense clarity to the Waters of the United States rule and his ongoing work to rein in overbearing federal regulations."

Oklahoma Secretary of Energy & Environment Kenneth Wagner: "I am very pleased President Trump continues to fulfill his promises to the American people. The new definition for “Waters of the United States” will provide the much needed regulatory certainty and predictability necessary for protecting waters and keeping our economy growing strong. The new rule restores the proper balance between the federal government and the states as originally envisioned by Congress. We greatly welcome this rule as it will will have many positive impacts for the Great State of Oklahoma."

Johnson County Commissioner Mike Brown (KS): “The Trump Administration has applied long overdue common-sense guidelines in reforming the onerously stringent Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rules... and it has made all the difference for our agricultural, land development and construction industries. As a County Commissioner, General Contractor and long-time member of the Kansas Wheat Growers Association I see and hear first hand how much positive impact these changes will immediately have on these critical industries of Johnson County, the State of Kansas and the USA. Another obstacle has now been removed and a collective sigh of relief can be heard on the fruited plain as further restrictions are pulled off industry and the economic machines are allowed to do what they does best! A HUGE thank you to President Trump and his Administration!”


American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall: “Farmers and ranchers care about clean water and preserving the land, which are essential to producing healthy food and fiber and ensuring future generations can do the same. That’s why we support the new clean water rule. It provides clarity and certainty, allowing farmers to understand water regulations without having to hire teams of consultants and lawyers. We appreciate the commitment of the agencies involved and this administration to crafting a new regulation that achieves important regulatory oversight while allowing farmers to farm. Clean water, clear rules.”

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons: “Manufacturers were proud to wage the court fights that invalidated the overreaching and unreasonable past rule. Today’s announcement bolsters manufacturers’ confidence and empowers us to invest in our communities and expand our work in America, while also continuing our leadership for responsible environmental stewardship. This is the smart, balanced regulation America deserves. And make no mistake: manufacturers will keep our promise to deliver cleaner water for future generations, in our operations and through the innovations we pioneer.”

U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute President Marty Durbin: “Today’s announcement brings us a step closer to clean water regulations that are clear and consistent. The new rule distinguishes between waters that are regulated by the federal government and those that are regulated by the states, making it easier for businesses, states and local governments to understand their obligations. We look forward to continued progress on water quality under this sensible regulation and applaud the Administration for their leadership on this important issue.”


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