More than 450 Oklahoma Farm Bureau members recently urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repeal the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule.
County Farm Bureaus collected more than 300 signatures over a two-week period, while other members submitted written comments at the organization’s annual August Area Meetings.
Finalized in June 2015, the WOTUS rule has been despised by farmers, ranchers and landowners across the country. The rule vastly expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act, granting the EPA and the Corps regulatory authority over virtually all waters including any place rainwater collects such as farm ponds, ditches and puddles.
“Waters of the U.S. has been a blatant power grab by the federal government that flies in the face of personal property rights,” said Marc Harder, a landowner and Canadian County Farm Bureau member.
Under direction of a presidential executive order, the EPA and the Corps now are conducting a two-step rulemaking process to repeal and revise the rule.
Many Oklahoma Farm Bureau members expressed their opposition to the rule because of its potential to inhibit the production of safe and affordable food.
“The only way agriculture can stay in existence and feed our country is for each producer to have the right to control their ground and ag practices,” said Kathy Boyd, a farmer and Texas County Farm Bureau member.
Farm Bureau members also believe farmers and ranchers are the greatest stewards of the environment and should be trusted by the government.
“The environment is no more valuable to anyone than to agriculturalists,” said Alfalfa County Farm Bureau member Terry Pederson, a farmer and rancher. “It is the basis of the progress, profitability and self-sufficiency of production agriculture.”
Comments on the WOTUS repeal may be submitted through Sept. 27 on the American Farm Bureau Federation website.