BROWNFIELD AG NEWS FOR AMERICA: EPA Releases New WOTUS Rule

The EPA has released the new Waters of the U.S. Rule under the Clean Water Act.

Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa says she is pleased with EPA’s rapid action. “This WOTUS replacement rule was released quickly, very important, and properly to provide much-needed regulatory certainty.”

Senator Pat Roberts says during his travels around the country to discuss the farm bill, WOTUS was regularly brought up by farmers and organizations, and he’s glad to see the new rule. “Every time that the second or third or fourth person would jump up that was representing a farm organization or just themselves individually and would say what about WOTUS?”

Among other things, the new WOTUS rule will only regulate ditches that function like a traditional navigable waterway, such as a canal. Lakes and ponds will be regulated if they flow into a traditional navigable waterway. American Farm Bureau’s President Zippy Duvall says that’s welcome news to farmers. “No one in the country, no one in Washington or in the capitol knows how best to take care of that land than the men and women that live on it and till it, and take care of it every day.”

Continue reading at Brownfield Ag News for America…

Photo Credit: Staff

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: EPA Chief Calls for Narrowing Scope of Clean-Water Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposal Tuesday that reduces the number of federally protected bodies of water compared with an Obama-era rule it seeks to replace.

EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the rule will give states needed flexibility in managing their streams and wetlands and provides greater certainty to Americans about when permits are needed, while reining in what he described as the overreach of the Obama administration.

Mr. Wheeler said former President Obama’s rule wrongly included many bodies of water that don’t regularly flow into larger waterways. The new proposed rule “puts an end to the previous administration’s power grab,” he said.

“Property owners should be able to stand on their property and be able to tell whether or not they have water that is a federal water without having to hire outside professionals,” Mr. Wheeler said.

The proposal requires a 60-day public comment period before the EPA begins drafting a final version, which the agency said it expects to publish by June.

Continue reading at The Wall Street Journal…

Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC) Statement on the Proposed New Water Rule

CONTACT: Amos Snead, Snead@S3PublicAffairs.com

Washington, DC — Today, the Waters Advocacy Coalition released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of the Army announced the proposed new water rule:

“Today’s release of a new water rule is an encouraging next step in the decades-long push for a WOTUS definition that empowers communities to protect their own water resources while providing regulatory clarity for our nation’s farmers, ranchers, small businesses, and landowners,” said coalition spokesman Amos Snead. “While the courts stepped in and almost immediately halted implementation of the illegal 2015 WOTUS rule, the specter of such an onerous, overreaching federal regulation has weighed heavily on states, local governments, and the regulated community across the country.

“In fact, a majority of states across the country spoke out against the old WOTUS rule, saying it would have buried them in paperwork, strained state budgets and ultimately not made any improvements to efforts to maintain water quality. In contrast, today’s proposal takes a more balanced approach to protecting our nation’s waterways by promoting states’ ability to protect their water resources, laying out clear federal guidelines for surface water protection, and providing Americans long overdue regulatory certainty.

“The Waters Advocacy Coalition appreciates the efforts of the EPA and the Army Corps to solicit feedback prior to drafting this new proposal and applauds the agencies’ commitment to continued engagement with local communities and affected stakeholders to craft a workable WOTUS definition. We look forward to implementation of a commonsense new water rule that provides for clean water and clear rules.”

For more information, please visit https://watersadvocacy.org

Click here to download this press release in PDF format.

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THE DAILY CALLER: Memo Details How Trump Will Rein In EPA’s Control Over ‘Ephemeral Streams,’ ‘Ditches’

“The previous administration’s 2015 rule wasn’t about water quality. It was about power – power in the hands of the federal government over farmers, developers, and landowners,” reads a draft Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) memo obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The draft memo lists Trump administration talking points for why the Obama administration’s rule to expand the definition of “waters of the United States” needed to be rewritten. The document also contains key changes made to the WOTUS rule.

“Excludes ephemeral streams and related features,” reads the document, adding that only waters wetlands “physically and meaningfully connected to other jurisdictional waters” will fall under federal control.

Continue reading at The Daily Caller…

Photo Credit: Ting Shen/Reuters

THE HILL: Put ‘regulation by enforcement’ where it belongs: The trash

Take the example of the Sacketts. Mike and Chantell Sackett wanted to build a house on their land. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wasn’t too happy about this and insisted that the Sacketts needed a permit to develop their own property.

The EPA claimed that this was mandated by the Clean Water Act, which the Supreme Court had called “hopelessly indeterminate” in scope. But that’s not all. When the Sacketts demanded their day in court, the EPA asserted that their actions were unreviewable until they sought to enforce the fine. Meanwhile, the Sackett accrued ruinous liability — to the tune of $75,000 per day! 

Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit public interest organization that defends liberty for all, secured a unanimous victory for the Sacketts in the Supreme Court. The court stated that it is deeply unfair to force Americans to incur $75,000 liability each day while they waited for the EPA to drop the hammer.

Although the Sacketts were able to secure pro bono representation, agency threats leave countless other Americans with no choice but to dance to the agency’s tune.

Continue reading at The Hill…

CAPITAL PRESS: NCBA: Cattle industry makes progress on environmental policy

Work remains to finalize the repeal of the waters of the U.S. rule — called WOTUS — expanding EPA and Army Corps of Engineers jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. The rule had been suspended while the agencies worked to replace it, and two federal courts blocked implementation in 24 states.

But a “zombie” WOTUS came back with a South Carolina court deciding the administration failed to comply with rulemaking requirements in suspending the rule — making it law in the 26 states not protected by an injunction, he said.

If approved by Congress, language in a House appropriations bill and the House version of the farm bill would repeal it. If not, the administration is in the process of repealing and replacing it, he said.

“We need a narrow definition closer to traditional navigable waters. We want a rule that’s understandable so producers can go out on their property and know” where the rule applies, he said.

NCBA is fighting WOTUS in courts, in the agencies and in Congress. And a broad swath of industry has banned together in a litigation coalition, he said.

Continue reading at Capital Press…

Photo Credit: Carol Ryan Dumas/Capital Press Scott Yager, chief environmental counsel for National Cattlemen’s

THE COLUMBUS TELEGRAM: Op-Ed: Renewed Trust

I have also worked hard to eliminate unnecessary regulations frustrating our agriculture producers. We are rolling back the previous administration’s Waters of the U.S. rule, which expanded the federal government’s jurisdiction over Nebraska’s water to include everything from a ditch on the side of the road to a puddle in a pasture.

Continue reading at The Columbus Telegram…

LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER: Op-Ed: Trump is keeping his promises to forgotten coal communities

The president has acted quickly to remove regulations that were stifling the coal industry. He signed legislation to overturn the costly Stream Protection Rule within one month of his inauguration and issued an executive order two weeks later reviewing the Waters of the United States rule. The next month, the president featured coal workers prominently in his plan for American energy independence. He proposed repealing the so-called Clean Power Plan; lifted the ban on federal leasing for coal production; removed job-killing energy industry regulations, and returned power over local economies to the states.

Continue reading at Lexington Herald-Leader…

Photo Credit: Wilbur Ross/AP

ALASKA JOURNAL OF COMMERCE: Sullivan: deregulation will be a relief to Alaska economy

To the crowd of miners he specifically discussed his efforts and those of Congress in concert with the Trump administration to roll back environmental regulations that he says were often intended to stymie resource industries.

Sullivan cited the repeal of the Army Corps of Engineers 2015 wetlands jurisdiction update known as the Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, rule. Proponents argued it simply clarified what waters the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency have jurisdictional authority over. Republicans and some Democrats said it would have drastically increased the scope of the agencies’ authority and would have led to Clean Water Act permits for development and agriculture in many places they are currently aren’t required.

Continue reading at Alaska Journal of Commerce…

Photo Credit: Elwood Brehmer/AJOC

BROWNFIELD AG NEWS FOR AMERICA: Hawley’s Victory Called ‘A Tremendous Win For Rural Missouri’

The president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, Blake Hurst, says Josh Hawley’s victory over Democratic incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill was “a tremendous win for rural Missouri.”

Hurst says Hawley is more in line with Farm Bureau’s stance on regulatory issues, including the Waters of the U.S. rule.

“Senator McCaskill was not a supporter of our position on Waters of the U.S.—and Hawley will be,” Hurst says. “That’s a big thing. I think we’re just a few days from having a new rule announced and it will be good to have a Senator that is protective of farmers’ interests when we go through the process of adopting a new Waters of the U.S. rule.”

Continue reading at Brownfield Ag News for America…

Photo Credit: Staff