(Washington, D.C. (USDA-September 12, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue praised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for taking another step to fulfill President Trump’s pledge to repeal and replace the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
“Repealing the WOTUS rule is a major win for American agriculture. The extreme overreach from the past Administration had government taking the productivity of the land people had worked for years,” Secretary Perdue said. “Farmers and ranchers are exceptional stewards of the land, taking great care to preserve it for generations to come. President Trump is making good on his promise to reduce burdensome regulations to free our producers to do what they do best – feed, fuel, and clothe this nation and the world.”
Background:One of President Trump’s earliest acts in office was an Executive Order directing EPA and the Army Corps to review and potentially replace the Obama Administration’s definition of the “Waters of the United States.” The EPA and the Army Corps have repealed the 2015 Rule that impermissibly expanded the definition of “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The agencies upcoming action will restore the regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 Rule and will end the inconsistent regulatory patchwork that has created uncertainty and has hindered projects from moving forward that can benefit both the environment and the economy. The repeal remedies the legal and procedural deficiencies of the 2015 Rule, addresses the extensive litigation surrounding it, and recodifies and restores a regulatory process that has been in place for years. The new rule will provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses as to the definition of “Waters of the United States.”
To learn more about EPA’s WOTUS Rule, click here
Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation
A Victory for Clean Water and Clear Rules
The following may be attributed to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall: “Farmers and ranchers share the goal of ensuring clean water, but the 2015 Waters of the United States rule was unreasonable and unworkable. It made conservation more difficult and created huge liabilities for farmers.
“No regulation is perfect, and no rule can accommodate every concern, but the 2015 rule was especially egregious. We are relieved to put it behind us. We are now working to ensure a fair and reasonable substitute that protects our water and our ability to work and care for the land. Farm Bureau’s multi-year effort to raise awareness of overreaching provisions was powered by thousands of our members who joined with an array of allies to achieve this victory for clear rules to ensure clean water.”
Source: American Farm Bureau Federation
Jennifer Houston, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
Cattlemen Applaud Finalization of WOTUS Repeal
Cattle Producers “Will Sleep a Little Easier Tonight Knowing That the Nightmare is Over,” NCBA President Houston Says
WASHINGTON (NCBA-Sept. 12, 2019) – National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston today issued the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s finalization of repeal of the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule:
“Cattle producers are the nation’s original environmental stewards – we work hard to ensure that our natural resources remain pristine and to implement conservation practices to protect our water resources. The 2015 WOTUS Rule was an illegal effort by the federal government to assert control over both land and water, significantly impacting our ability to implement vital conservation practices.
“After years spent fighting the 2015 WOTUS Rule in the halls of Congress, in the Courts, and at the EPA, cattle producers will sleep a little easier tonight knowing that the nightmare is over. Thanks to President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for their commitment to farmers and ranchers, and restoring the rule of law. NCBA looks forward to the finalization of a practical Waters of the United States definition that will protect our water resource while allowing cattle producers to do their jobs effectively.”
The American Farm Bureau Federation is proud to partner with members of the business and agriculture communities through the Waters Advocacy Coalition. Members of WAC are seeking a new clean water rule that provides regulatory clarity, promotes clean water, and protects jobs.
Waters Advocacy Coalition: It’s Time For Clean Water And Clear Rules
WASHINGTON (AFBF/WAC-September 12, 2019) —The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) today announced a final rule repealing the unlawful 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which vastly and unclearly expanded the definition of “Waters of the United States” beyond the limits imposed by Congress and affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 2015 WOTUS rule unlawfully infringed on the role of states in protecting local waterways and granted the federal government nearly unlimited authority to regulate any low spot where rainwater collects. This ambiguous rule also resulted in substantial regulatory uncertainty and legal risk for a broad cross-section of the nation’s economy.
The 2015 rule was quickly blocked by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals based on its legal flaws and the potential for it to cause significant economic and regulatory harm. It was never fully implemented nationwide. Thirty-one states and dozens of agricultural, conservation and industry groups filed legal challenges to the 2015 WOTUS rule for its unlawfully broad expansion of federal jurisdiction.
The Waters Advocacy Coalition, a broad coalition of organizations advocating for clean water and clear rules, thanks EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers for repealing the problematic 2015 WOTUS rule. The group also is encouraging the administration to finalize a new rule that protects the nation’s waters and provides clear rules for states, farmers, ranchers and small businesses to follow.
- Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said, “This is a huge victory for farmers and ranchers, who share the goal of protecting our nation’s water resources. Farm Bureau appreciates this significant first step. We look forward to the administration and the agencies finalizing a new regulation that will provide clean water and clear rules.”
- Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, said, “America is now one step closer to smart and balanced regulation that protects our nation’s precious water resources. Courts already declared the 2015 rule illegal, following years of litigation that included a 9-0 victory for the NAM at the Supreme Court, so manufacturers are pleased to see it officially struck from the books. The old water rule, which sought to regulate dry land, was confusing and counterproductive. Manufacturers are committed to environmental stewardship, so now we look forward to a new, more effective rule to protect clean water.”
- Marty Durbin, president of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute, said, “For decades, America has been making tremendous progress to improve water quality. The 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule significantly expanded the definition of waters, creating great uncertainty for states, local governments, businesses and farmers. In addition, legal challenges have now led to an unworkable patchwork of federal regulations that vary from state to state. Today’s action to restore one national definition provides certainty for stakeholders and ensures that we can build upon existing standards to improve water quality. We look forward to working with the Administration to do just that.”
- Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, said, “The 2015 WOTUS rule was so broadly written that it created substantial confusion and regulatory uncertainty, which caused customer costs to increase due to new operating requirements and delays for critical infrastructure projects. EEI applauds EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers for repealing the rule, which multiple courts already had found to be unlawful.
“Today’s repeal is a key step toward providing long-overdue clarity for EEI’s member companies, which are making substantial investments to make the energy grid stronger, smarter, cleaner, more dynamic, and more secure for all customers. We look forward to working with EPA, the Army Corps, states, and other stakeholders as the agencies move forward with their efforts to finalize a new, clear WOTUS definition that will protect the integrity of our nation’s waters while offering more regulatory certainty for energy infrastructure permitting.”
- Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders and a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn., said, “NAHB commends the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for repealing the 2015 WOTUS rule that vastly expanded federal overreach over water and land use by regulating man-made ditches and isolated ponds on private property. By repealing the 2015 rule, the EPA and Corps have taken an important step forward. Next, they need to finalize a new definition that restores common sense to the regulatory process by respecting states’ rights and balancing economic and environmental concerns.”
- Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, said, “The administration’s decision to withdraw the deeply flawed Waters of the U.S. rule will provide much-needed clarity for communities and officials who are working to advance vital new infrastructure, development and remediation projects across the country. We are eager to work with the administration as it crafts a replacement rule that will provide the kind of certainty and common sense that the earlier measure lacked while continuing to protect water quality.”
- Jennifer Houston, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said, “Cattle producers are the nation’s original environmental stewards – we work hard to ensure that our natural resources remain pristine and implement conservation practices to protect our water resource. The 2015 WOTUS Rule was an illegal effort by the federal government to assert control over both land and water, significantly impacting our ability to implement vital conservation practices.
“After years spent fighting the 2015 WOTUS Rule in the halls of Congress, in the Courts, and at the EPA, cattle producers will sleep a little easier tonight knowing that the nightmare is over. Thanks to President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for their commitment to cooperative federalism farmers and ranchers and restoring the rule of law. NCBA looks forward to the finalization of a practical Waters of the United States definition that will protect our water resource while allowing cattle producers to do their jobs effectively.”
- National Mining Association President and CEO Hal Quinn said, “Today’s repeal turns the page on a deeply problematic regulation that exemplified the last administration’s federal overreach. The 2015 rule unlawfully expanded the scope of federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction and, contrary to its intended purpose, added significant confusion to the question of which waters are federally regulated and which are protected by the states. We look forward to working with this administration as it takes the next step of finalizing the WOTUS replacement rule. The administration’s proposed definition strikes the appropriate balance between state and federal authority over waterways and reduces the uncertainty that has plagued Clean Water Act implementation for decades.”
NPPC Applauds EPA’s Actions to Finalize New WOTUS Rule
WASHINGTON, D.C. (NPPC-Sept. 12, 2019) — The National Pork Producers Council applauded today’s action by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), repealing the previous Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule and laying the groundwork for a new final rule.
The previous WOTUS rule was issued by the Obama administration in August 2015, giving EPA broad jurisdiction over U.S. waters to include other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams that farmers use for drainage and irrigation. Most importantly, it also covered lands adjacent to waters such as farm fields. Prior to the 2015 rule, EPA’s jurisdiction over waterways – based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions – included “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters.
“We’re pleased the EPA is moving towards a common sense WOTUS rule that works with—not against—farmers to protect our nation’s waterways,” said NPPC President David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C. “The previous WOTUS rule was a dramatic government overreach and an unprecedented expansion of federal authority over private lands. Today’s action will remove the threat that the 2015 WOTUS rule posed for our ability to efficiently grow the amount of food needed by people around the globe, while providing regulatory certainty to our farmers and businesses. We look forward to working with this administration to finally implement a new WOTUS rule,” he added.
NPPC had opposed the 2015 WOTUS rule because it was overly broad and had significant technical flaws, including the process that EPA used to develop the rule, which violated basic due process and long-standing procedural protections. On Aug. 21, 2019, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia remanded the rule to EPA to redraft, stating that the Obama-era WOTUS rule itself violated the Clean Water Act and that the Obama administration’s procedures for enacting the WOTUS rule were clearly in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.
Source: National Pork Producers Council
Jimmy Parnell, Alabama Farmers Federation
(ALFA-September 12, 2019) — The administration’s announcement of a fresh start for clean water and clear rules is victory for farmers and ranchers, according to the Alabama Farmers Federation.
“As farmers and ranchers, we share the goal of protecting the nation’s waters, but the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule was unlawful and unworkable,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “It made conservation more difficult and created huge liabilities for farmers.”
The administration’s announcement follows a multi-year effort by the American Farm Bureau, state Farm Bureaus and an array of allies to finalize a new rule that protects the nation’s waters and provides clear rules for states, farmers, ranchers and small businesses to follow.
“No regulation is perfect, and no rule can accommodate every concern, but the 2015 rule was especially egregious,” Parnell said. “We are relieved to put it behind us. We are now working to ensure a fair and reasonable rule that protects our water and our ability to work and care for the land.”
Source: Alabama Farmers Federation