The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers released a final rule on December 30 that determines what constitutes Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, under the Clean Water Act.
The rule was released as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to decide a case, Sackett vs. EPA, which will provide more clarity on the issue.
“We are disappointed that EPA moved ahead with its final rule when the Supreme Court will soon render a decision on this matter,” said National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag. “The Court’s ruling could negate major elements of this WOTUS rule and will create even more uncertainty for farmers.”
This year, NCGA submitted comments to EPA and encouraged corn growers to do the same as the rule was being considered. The group also participated in regional hearings held by EPA.
NCGA has made it clear that farmers are committed to the objectives of the Clean Water Act and the protection of water quality around agricultural operations and downstream. But, the organization has argued, achieving these objectives does not require drainage and water features, which are distant from relatively permanent flowing tributaries, be made subject to EPA’s regulations.
“As farmers, we are the ones who will feel the impact of this rule,” said Haag. “Yet, it appears that our comments fell on deaf ears.