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Farm Groups Applaud Withdrawal of WOTUS Rule
USAgNet - 06/28/2017

Farm group leaders were pleased Tuesday with the announcement that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has filed an official proposal to withdraw the controversial Waters of the United States rule. WOTUS, as it's commonly known, would redefine how "waters of the United States" are subject to federal regulations under the Clean Water Act. A wide range of farm groups strongly opposed WOTUS, which sought to protect clean drinking water by increasing federal authority to regulate major river and lakes, as well as smaller streams and wetlands.

Supporters say WOTUS would have ended ambiguities over who controls navigable rivers and interstate waterways, and enhanced efforts to maintain clean water supplies.

The rule, which was part of the Obama administration's environmental efforts, had been criticized by President Donald Trump, who in February issued an executive order directing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the Army Corps of Engineers to review it. Pruitt's recommendation to revoke the rule is based on that review.

"This is great news for America's pork producers," said National Pork Producer Council President Ken Maschhoff. "The WOTUS rule was a dramatic government overreach and an unprecedented expansion of federal authority over private lands."

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall also welcomed the announcement. He says farmers and ranchers across the country are cheering EPA's proposal to ditch WOTUS.

"This rule was never really about clean water. It was a federal land grab designed to put a straightjacket on farming and private businesses across this nation," Duvall said. "That's why our federal courts blocked it from going into effect for the past two years."

Last winter, member of Congress passed a bill that would undo the WOTUS regulations, but former President Obama vetoed the measure shortly before leaving office.

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