Home Indiana Agriculture News Ag Senators Asking for Withdrawal of WOTUS

Ag Senators Asking for Withdrawal of WOTUS


Senate Ag Committee members requested withdrawal of part of the Environmental Protection Agencies Water of the U.S. proposal last week. In a letter to the EPA, the senators on the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee asked the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the agriculture interpretive rule of WOTUS. The Senators argued the proposal could fundamentally alter interaction between farmers and the federal government. In their letter, the senators say the Interpretive Rule should be withdrawn because farming, ranching and rural constituencies had little opportunity to have input on the new rule. The letter stated that farmers and ranchers were deeply concerned the rule “has created great confusion about what agriculture activities are exempt from regulation under the Clean Water Act.” The part of rule at question would bring USDA into the permitting process. The agriculture Interpretive Rule outlines just 56 activities out of more than 160 conservation practices that previously qualified for the normal farming and ranching exemption, according to the Senators.

Signers of the letter included Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa),John Thune (R-S.D.), and Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) The letter was addressed to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Army Secretary John McHugh and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.