Home Indiana Agriculture News Panel Recommends Limited WOTUS Definition, Protection for Ag Features

Panel Recommends Limited WOTUS Definition, Protection for Ag Features

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An EPA advisory panel recommends the agency continue to protect water rule exemptions for farm features, as it rewrites the Trump Navigable Waters Protection Rule that replaced WOTUS.

EPA’s Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities advisory panel calls for a clear and limited WOTUS definition with exemptions for ditches, stock ponds, prairie potholes and prior converted cropland. There is no guarantee EPA chief Michael Regan will go along with that guidance, and Scott Yager of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says that would be a mistake.

“While not perfect, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule worked for farmers and ranchers,” he said. “So, there is a political calculus here, and they will be losing votes, in my opinion, by going down a path and creating a rule that doesn’t work for producers.”

Yager is Chief Environmental Counsel at NCBA.

American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says farmers and ranchers already had the best deal they could get with the Navigable Waters Protection Rule that replaced the Obama-era WOTUS.

“They wanted it to be simplified to where they didn’t have to go hire lawyers and consultants to interpret it,” Duvall explained. “And they wanted it to be very clear them, what are Waters of the U.S. and what are not Waters of the U.S. And we think we got as close as we could get, in accomplishing that. But to back up now and say we’re going to redo it, is just really frustrating for our farmers.”

Duvall stresses the importance of keeping the word “navigable” in any new rule and defining it properly. Farm Bureau is stressing that as the EPA takes public comment to prepare WOTUS 2.0.

Source: NAFB News