On Dec. 11, I joined the presidents of all 50 state Farm Bureaus at the EPA headquarters in Washington to announce a new proposed clean water rule to replace the flawed 2015 WOTUS rule.
As the rule is published in the Federal Register, the details will take some time to sort out, and there may be room for improvement on the latest proposal.
But there’s no question that this is good news for farmers who have faced a tangled web of confusing and unclear rules that left us uncertain of whether we can even farm our own land.
The 2015 WOTUS rule was so broad and vague that a farmer would have no idea whether any ditch, depression, or pond on his farm was subject to federal regulation.
But the uncertainty in the rule goes back decades. For too long, the only way to really know what features were protected has been to go to the U.S. Supreme Court — and few had the resources for that.
Meanwhile, farmers have been cited and fined for doing things as commonplace as plowing a field or switching crops, just because rainwater drains across the field.
Photo Credit: Wayne F. Pryor