WOTUS is on the way out

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made a proposal June 27 to rescind the Clean Water Rule and revert to the water rule language that existed before 2015, giving the agency time to redefine what ‘waters of the United States’ or WOTUS means.

“We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, in a news release. “This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine ‘waters of the U.S.’ and we are committed to moving through this re-evaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty, in a way that is thoughtful, transparent and collaborative with other agencies and the public.”

The move was applauded by Farm Bureau, which has long contended the rule was an overreach by U.S. EPA.

“While this was several years in the making, the EPA’s announcement to rescind the WOTUS rule is a testament to our farmers who spoke up and shared their stories about how this rule would have negatively impacted their farms,” said Jack Irvin, OFBF senior director, state and national policy. “Our members’ voices do make a difference.”

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall applauded the move, noting that farmers across the country know the importance of clean water and strive daily to protect the country’s natural resources.

“But this rule was never really about clean water. It was a federal land grab designed to put a straightjacket on farming and private businesses across this nation,” Duvall said in a statement released by AFBF. “That’s why our federal courts blocked it from going into effect for the past two years. Farm Bureau looks forward to supporting Administrator Pruitt’s proposal.”