Farm groups applaud withdrawal of WOTUS rule


"The final WOTUS rule issued by the last administration was unworkable, a fact acknowledged by courts around the country, and amounted to a massive grab of regulatory authority by an EPA that was overreaching", said Bill Kovacs, vice president for environment and regulatory policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A wide range of farm groups strongly opposed WOTUS, which sought to protect clean drinking water by increasing federal authority to regulate major river and lakes, as well as smaller streams and wetlands.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Candidate for Governor Adam Putnam is applauding a decision by the Environmental Protection Administration to rescind parts of the Clean Water Act otherwise known as Waters of the United States or WOTUS regulations on bodies of water. When it is completed, the agencies said, they will undergo a broader review of which waters should fall under federal jurisdiction.

"We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation's farmers and businesses", according to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.

Keith Johnston, managing attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center's Birmingham office, said his organization was committed to fighting any weakening of the Clean Water Act by the Trump Administration.

"Every community in America needs clean, safe water every day for every resident and President Trump's repeal of the Clean Water Rule puts that in serious jeopardy", said Sen.

Because the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a stay on the CWR in October 2015, the action would not change current practice with respect to how the definition applies, EPA said. "I again urge the EPA to fully consider the comment letter filed by 20 state attorneys general and to incorporate those comments in preparing its new rule". The February Order states that it is in the national interest to ensure that the Nation's navigable waters are kept free from pollution, while at the same time promoting economic growth, minimizing regulatory uncertainty, and showing due regard for the roles of Congress and the States under the Constitution.

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"Today's announcement is a triumph for American farmers, ranchers, and small business owners", Wicker said. "That's why I've been fighting against this overly burdensome Obama-era regulation that usurps power from Nevadans and puts it into the hands of Washington bureaucrats".

But it was controversial from the start, with accusations that it would give the federal government control over large swaths of the country, like dry land and puddles.

In May Pruitt said he expected EPA to have a new rule defining what constitutes WOTUS by either the end of the year or in early 2018.

Montana Senator Steve Daines said the Waters of the US Rule has always been a stone around the neck of private property owners.

"We are hopeful the EPA will keep in mind the uniqueness of each state and work with the states rather than continuing to dictate rules with the goal of controlling property rights", Hamilton continued.