AG ALERT: Commentary: Kari Fisher: Farmers seek clarity in rewrite of WOTUS rule

The 2015 WOTUS rule attempted to clarify which wetlands and waterways are covered by the Clean Water Act. For farmers and ranchers, however, the 2015 rule provided no clarity or certainty. Instead, through vague and overly broad definitions of terms such as “tributary,” “adjacent” and “significant nexus,” the 2015 rule made it extremely difficult for a farmer or rancher to know whether a federal regulator would ultimately determine water features on his or her farm to be covered by the act. Additionally, the 2015 rule has the potential to create unnecessary regulatory burdens for farmers, ranchers and others who depend on their ability to work the land. It would also require additional federal permits and increase costs for farmers, ranchers and others. The second step of the new administration’s proposed rule will consist of the agencies going back to the drawing board to develop a WOTUS definition that protects water quality without asserting federal regulatory power over puddles in farm fields.

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