On behalf of Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers, Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Tom Buchanan this week urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repeal the 2015 Waters of the United States rule.
The EPA and the Corps have proposed a rule to rescind the 2015 WOTUS rule and restore it to pre-2015 language, thanks to a June 2017 executive order from President Donald Trump. The current rulemaking is the first in a two-step process, as the second step will clarify the definition of “waters of the U.S.”
“Oklahoma doesn’t need additional murky regulations from the EPA and the Corps, creating misunderstanding and uncertainty,” Buchanan said in OKFB comments. “Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers are the best stewards of their land and water; their livelihoods depend on it.”
More than 470 OKFB members also submitted comments and signed petitions in support of the rule’s repeal.
Much to the dismay of farmers and ranchers nationwide, the 2015 rule vastly expanded the definition of waters of the U.S. beyond the scope of Congressional intent. The rule granted the EPA and the Corps regulatory control over private land any spot where water may collect including farm ponds, ephemeral streams, ditches and even puddles.
The 2015 WOTUS rule was blocked by federal courts and was never implemented following challenges from dozens of states and industry groups, including the State of Oklahoma.
The comment period will remain open through Wednesday, Sept. 27 at midnight. Comment on the proposed WOTUS repeal here.