Fresh start for clean water and clear rules: WOTUS announcement a victory for farmers and ranchers
September 12, 2019 – The administration’s announcement of a fresh start for clean water and clear rules is a victory for farmers and ranchers, according to the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation.
“As farmers and ranchers, we share the goal of protecting the nation’s water, but the 2015 Waters of the United States rule was unreasonable and unworkable,” said Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation President Todd Fornstrom. “It made conservation more difficult and created huge liabilities for farmers.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston today issued the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s finalization of repeal of the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule:
“Cattle producers are the nation’s original environmental stewards – we work hard to ensure that our natural resources remain pristine and to implement conservation practices to protect our water resources. The 2015 WOTUS Rule was an illegal effort by the federal government to assert control over both land and water, significantly impacting our ability to implement vital conservation practices.
“After years spent fighting the 2015 WOTUS Rule in the halls of Congress, in the Courts, and at the EPA, cattle producers will sleep a little easier tonight knowing that the nightmare is over. Thanks to President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for their commitment to farmers and ranchers, and restoring the rule of law. NCBA looks forward to the finalization of a practical Waters of the United States definition that will protect our water resource while allowing cattle producers to do their jobs effectively.”
The administration’s announcement follows a multi-year effort by the American Farm Bureau, state Farm Bureaus and an array of allies to finalize a new rule that protects the nation’s waters and provides clear rules for states, farmers, ranchers and small businesses to follow, says Wyoming Farm Bureau.
According to Fornstrom, Farm Bureau members have a deep interest in water quality. “Farm Bureau members deeply value protecting water resources because their farms and ranches are water-dependent enterprises. On a personal level, I am deeply protective of water quality because I raised my family drinking from a well on our farm. Simply put, farmers and ranchers need water, which is why their farms and ranches typically are located on lands where there is abundant rainfall or at least adequate water available for irrigation,” said Fornstrom.
Fornstrom said it is essential to preserve the Clean Water Act’s partnership among federal, state and local regulators.
“The CWA requires the federal government to work hand-in-hand with states, because the federal government cannot and should not regulate every single wet feature in every community,” he said. “This fresh start for clean water and clear rules will put us one step closer to drawing clear lines between waters of the U.S. and waters of the state and strengthening the cooperative federalism Congress envisioned and that the Supreme Court has long recognized as fundamental to the Clean Water Act.”
“No regulation is perfect, and no rule can accommodate every concern, but the 2015 rule was especially egregious,” Fornstrom said. “We are relieved to put it behind us. We are now working to ensure a fair and reasonable substitute that protects our water and our ability to work and care for the land.”
–Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association