Farmers call repeal of 2015 Waters of the United States rule ‘a victory for clean water and clear rules’

USA

New York farmers, Congressman Chris Collins and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue applaud today’s announcement that the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers have agreed to rescind the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

From the New York Farm Bureau:

Repeal of the 2015 Waters of the United States rule is a victory for clean water and clear rules, according to New York Farm Bureau.

“Farmers share the goal of protecting the nation’s water, but the 2015 Waters of the United States rule was unreasonable and unworkable,” said New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher.

“It made protecting water quality and conservation efforts more difficult and created huge liabilities for farmers, especially when what waters would be regulated under the old rule could not be clearly defined. This turned farming into a guessing game on which land use required federal permits and what did not.”

The administration’s repeal announcement follows a multi-year effort by the American Farm Bureau, New York Farm Bureau and an array of allies to raise awareness of overreaching provisions of the rule.

“No regulation is perfect, and no rule can accommodate every concern, but the 2015 rule was especially egregious,” Fisher said. “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.”

From Congressman Chris Collins:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) praised EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s signing of the repeal of the Obama-Era Clean Water Rule, commonly known as the, “Waters of the United States.”

The signing of the repeal is part of a two-step process ordered by President Donald Trump in February 2017. This first step overturns the Obama-era regulation and reenacts rules established prior to 2015. The second step of process is for the EPA to propose a replacement rule, which is expected before the end of this year.

“This was nothing more than a giant power grab by the Obama Administration that had real and harmful consequences on America’s hardworking farmers and small business owners,” Congressman Collins said.

“This rule has serious implications for our local farmers, it allows bureaucrats to determine if small divots or puddles were considered ‘navigable waters’. President Trump made a promise to farmers across the nation and I applaud him for keeping it by repealing these outrageous regulations. &rdquo

In 2014, Congressman Collins attempted to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) from expanding federal control under the Clean Water Act by leading a letter to the EPA Administrator and the Department of Army Secretary urging them not the move forward. A majority of Congress signed on to Congressman Collins’ letter.

Congressman Collins additionally was a cosponsor of H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, which would prevent the EPA and the Army Corp of Engineers from implementing the proposed rule that would redefine “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. This legislation passed in the House but was not taken up in the Senate.

The repeal is expected to be challenged in court by a number of environmental groups.

From U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue:

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today 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.

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