Trump orders reconsideration of Waters of the United States rule, ag community responds
February 28, 2017
Farm Bureau Praises Trump's WOTUS Action
Farm Bureau is praising President Donald Trump's executive order to ditch the Water of the U.S. (WOTUES) Rule, an overreach of federal regulations that Farm Bureaus across the country have been working against for the past three years.
Montana Farm Bureau President Hans McPherson noted, "Montana Farm Bureau had worked with their Congressmen to defeat WOTUS and had put a lot of effort into seeing this onerous rule eliminated. This was a ridiculous rule that the Washington bureaucrats had developed without being held accountable for the harm it would do, especially to America's farmers and ranchers. President Trump's campaign promise was to slash burdensome rules holding back the American economy, so we are very pleased to see WOTUS finally 'ditched.'"
American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said, "The flawed WOTUS rule has proven to be nothing more than a federal land grab, aimed at telling farmers and ranchers how to run their businesses. The Environmental Protection Agency failed to listen to farmers' and ranchers' concerns when drafting the rule and instead created widespread confusion for agriculture. Under the rule, the smallest pond or ditch could be declared a federal waterway."
"Farmers and ranchers have been calling for a common-sense approach to regulatory reform, and today the Trump administration responded to that call. EPA has too long been characterized by regulatory overreach that disregards the positive conservation efforts of farmers and threatens their very way of life," added Duvall. "Today's action is as much a beginning as an end, and there is much work to do to ensure that any revised rule is transparent and fair for America's farmers and ranchers."
Heitkamp Attends White House Signing – at President's Request – of Executive Order Undoing Waters of the U.S. Rule
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp was invited to the White House today to join the president as he signed an executive order effectively undoing the previous administration's Waters of the U.S. rule—an over-reaching policy that Heitkamp has long pushed back against to protect North Dakota farmers and ranchers.
Heitkamp negotiated and helped introduce a strong bipartisan bill in 2015 to do away with the Waters of the U.S. rule. The bill offered a compromise fix by scrapping the harmful rule and sending it back to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), requiring the agency to take into account the concerns of farmers and ranchers whose livelihoods could be impacted given the scope of the rule. Heitkamp will continue to push Congress to pass legislation to undo the Waters of the U.S. rule. If passed, such legislation would go into effect immediately, while the new executive order—though a needed step—still has to go through the rulemaking process.
"After working with North Dakota farmers and ranchers for years to stop this unworkable EPA rule, the president's action today shows our concerns have been heard loud and clear," said Heitkamp. "Now it's time for Congress to step up and do its job by giving EPA direction on what water is jurisdictional under the Clean Water Act—and that's what the bipartisan bill I helped introduce requiring EPA to redo this rule would accomplish. Water is everywhere in North Dakota, from Prairie Potholes to the Missouri River. That's why this unworkable federal rule—which creates uncertainty about the waters EPA can regulate—would hit our family farmers and rural communities so hard. Farmers and ranchers need certainty, and I'll continue fighting for our rural communities in the U.S. Senate."
Earlier this month, the Agricultural Retailers Association recognized Heitkamp with its "Legislator of the Year" award, specifically praising her work to fix the over-reaching Waters of the U.S. rule and noting how the rule would hurt producers, retailers, and rural communities in North Dakota and across the country.
Heitkamp is committed to finding solutions that provide lasting relief and certainty to the communities in North Dakota. After months of working to construct a solution that would give farmers and ranchers lasting relief from the Waters of the U.S. rule, Heitkamp helped introduce the bipartisan, pragmatic Federal Water Quality Protection Act in April 2015 with U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, and John Barrasso of Wyoming to make sure the EPA addresses the concerns of the farmers, ranchers, and small businesses impacted by the rule.
Just two months after its introduction, the bill passed in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Although the bill fell two votes short of moving forward in the Senate, Heitkamp has worked with her Republican and Democratic colleagues to try to find a deal to fix the rule and pressed the previous administration about how the rule is unworkable during a U.S. Senate hearing just last year.
Continuing her efforts to make sure the concerns of agricultural and small business workers are heard, Heitkamp brought U.S. Senator Donnelly to North Dakota in September 2015 to talk with agriculture, civic, and business leaders about the challenges they will face as a result of the rule.
Heitkamp continues to closely monitor the legal proceedings of court cases over the rule – and praised the injunction issued by the U.S. District Court of North Dakota in August 2015 to block the rule for 13 states, as well as the national suspension of the rule by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Cattlemen Applaud President for Ordering Reconsideration of "Extremely Flawed" WOTUS Rule
Craig Uden, president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) today released the following statement in response to President Trump's executive action ordering the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider their controversial Waters of the United States rule:
"This extremely flawed rule would force ranchers and feedlot operators to get permits or risk excessive federal penalties despite being miles away from any navigable water. It would be one of the largest federal land grabs and private-property infringements in American history, and the President should be applauded for making EPA and the Corps reconsider this debacle. Ultimately, this rule should be taken out behind the barn and put out of its misery."
Statement by North Dakota Stockmen’s Association President Warren Zenker on the Waters of the United States Rule executive order
North Dakota Stockmen’s Association President Warren Zenker today released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s executive order to reconsider the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS):
“The Trump Administration’s move to reconsider the EPA’s WOTUS rule marks a victory for ranchers and landowners who were left with the uncertainty of a misguided regulatory scheme that expanded the agency’s jurisdiction far beyond the original intent of Congress under the Clean Water Act.
By signing today’s executive order, President Trump has reasserted the private property rights of landowners and taken a good first step in reining in the onerous land grab and federal overregulation promoted by the WOTUS rule.”
Texas Cattle Raisers Commend President Trump's Order on EPA Overreach
AUSTIN —Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) president Richard Thorpe issued the following statement in response to President Trump's executive order that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers reevaluate the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
"The WOTUS rule is a misguided attempt to control water on our ranches and private lands by imposing overly burdensome regulations and harsh penalties on landowners. It would destroy the livelihoods of Texas ranchers by regulating them out of business, and threaten our ability to provide America with a safe and affordable food supply. I commend President Trump for recognizing the peril of such a rule and taking action to control federal overreach."