Farm Bureau backs bill to sink controversial WOTUS rule | TSLN.com

Farm Bureau backs bill to sink controversial WOTUS rule

The American Farm Bureau Federation today asked Congress to pass legislation ordering EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the controversial Waters of the United States proposal.

In a letter copied to all members of Congress, AFBF President Bob Stallman wrote that the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015 represents an opportunity for Congress to take "the first important step toward resolving this issue fairly." The bill was approved this week by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, chaired by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.).

Earlier this month, EPA sent its WOTUS final rule to the Office of Management and Budget for interagency review. This is the last step before the release of the final rule. The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs received the proposed rule April 6. OIRA's regulatory review is supposed to take 90 days, although controversial rules can be tied up far longer. EPA officials have long said that they are aiming to finalize the rule this spring.

If the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015 does not pass and EPA moves forward with a final rule, the likeliest result would be landowners "being forced to engage in expensive litigation to protect their rights."

Farm Bureau also called into question a "Dear Colleague" letter circulating on Capitol Hill that mentions the American Farm Bureau by name. That letter states that delaying the rule would be "bad for farmers."

AFBF also questioned the "Dear Colleague" letter's assertion that delaying the WOTUS rule would leave "many of our nation's waters unprotected."

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Farm Bureau believes without question that the WOTUS rule expands EPA's authority beyond congressional intent and the limits imposed by two Supreme Court opinions. Among other provisions, AFBF said the proposed rule improperly extends federal regulation to isolated waters and, in cases, regulates land use under the guise of the WOTUS rule. The organization commended Chairman Shuster and the committee for their effort to draft and approve the bill for wider congressional consideration. F

–American Farm Bureau Federation