The National Pork Producers Council hailed today’s announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it will propose a rule to rescind a controversial Clean Water Act regulation that gave the government broad jurisdiction over land and water. The proposal – expected to be published in the Federal Register in the coming days – will repeal the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which ostensibly was implemented to clarify EPA’s authority over various waters.
Zippy Duvall, president, American Farm Bureau Federation said in a statement, “Farmers and ranchers across this country are cheering EPA’s proposal today to ditch its flawed Waters of the U.S. rule. We know the importance of clean water, and farmers and ranchers work hard to protect our natural resources every day.” Corn growers joined the chorus of farm groups praising the move, “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.”
“I’m pleased Administrator Pruitt and the EPA has listened to our concerns and has taken an important first step to rescind the infamous WOTUS rule. For too long, this rule has burdened not only farmers and ranchers, but landowners of all sizes, across the country,” said Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts. His counterpart on the House Ag Committee, Michael Conaway, reacted similarly, “WOTUS has never been about clean water, it was about feeding the Obama EPA’s insatiable appetite for power. Well that, ends now. Today’s EPA announcement is an important first step to getting the federal government out of America’s backyards, fields and ditches and restoring certainty and integrity to our regulatory process.” Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said, “I am pleased the EPA is taking steps towards a new WOTUS rule, and I encourage the administration to develop a rule that is more workable for Hoosiers. It is important that we get this rule right, and I look forward to working with the EPA and the administration to ensure we have a collaborative effort with farmers, businesses, local governments, and environmental groups to ensure our water is clean and safe.”