THE MISSOURI TIMES: Opinion: New clean water rule gives farmers and ranchers clear guidelines

Missouri’s farmers and ranchers may soon have clear rules about how to protect our waterways. On December 11, President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new Clean Water Rule that would fix many of the problems created by the Obama administration’s 2015 “WOTUS Rule” power grab.

Missouri farmers had many complaints with President Obama’s 2015 Waters of the United States rule. One of the strongest was that the rule was so broad and vague that almost any land could fall under it. A 2015 Missouri Farm Bureau analysis found that over 99 percent of Missouri lands could fall under the Obama rule’s jurisdiction. With such ambiguous guidelines, landowners could do everything possible to follow the law but still not know if they were committing a violation.

The EPA describes the new rule as “clear and easy to understand.” They claim it will be easier for a property owner to “understand whether a project on his or her property will require a federal permit or not, without spending tens of thousands of dollars on engineering and legal professionals.” This is welcome news to farmers. Times are tight in agriculture, and the threat of new fines or litigation looming over normal activities is the last thing they need right now.

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