FORT WAYNE NEWS – SENTINEL: Opinion: Rep. Jim Banks: EPA water rule can limit our farmers

Over the last decade, the Environmental Protection Agency has steadily inserted new regulations into federal code to expand its jurisdiction over U.S. waterways. The most egregious of these efforts came in 2014 when the EPA, under President Obama, proposed the WOTUS rule. This rule set out the agency’s interpretation of which bodies of waters are “navigable” and therefore subject to federal regulation. This rule significantly changed EPA definitions for tributaries and regulated wetlands. The changes were worded so vaguely that any well-meaning farmer or land-owner with a drainage stream or rainstorm overflow could be accused of polluting navigable waters. It also could limit the ability of Hoosier farmers to use their private land as they see fit. While we can all agree that reducing pollution in Indiana’s waterways is a common-sense goal, this rule goes far beyond reasonable environmental protection. The sweeping regulations in the WOTUS rule are overly broad, burdensome and unnecessary.

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