Applauded by farmers and ranchers, the Environmental Protection Agency announced in late June its decision to rescind the Waters of the U.S. rule. The agency also said it will look carefully at the definition of waters of the United States and propose a new rule.
Farmers and ranchers support clean water and work hard to protect natural resources. But the WOTUS rule had more to do with land than water. It was a land grab, pure and simple, that:
- Created a huge regulatory burden for farmers, ranchers and others who depend on their ability to work the land;
- Increased costs for farmers, ranchers and others; and
- Produced confusion and uncertainty.
The rule has never been implemented because it was halted by both a federal district court and a federal court of appeals; but those court orders are only temporary.
EPA’s current proposal would eliminate the 2015 WOTUS rule permanently, while the agency goes back to the drawing board to develop a WOTUS definition that protects water quality without asserting federal regulatory power over puddles in farm fields.
But environmental activist groups desperately want to preserve the 2015 land grab. The groups will try to stop EPA from ditching the rule, claiming its withdrawal will harm water quality.
The voice of the opposition cannot drown out the voice of reason. OKFB members need to send comments to the EPA to support the repeal of the illegal 2015 WOTUS rule.