The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reportedly issuing a proposed rule to undo the Clean Water Rule that was enacted in May 2015, under President Obama's last term. "The livelihoods of American farmers, ranchers, and entrepreneurs were at stake".
The proposed rule would recodify the identical regulatory text that was in place prior to the 2015 Clean Water Rule and that is now in place as a result of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit's stay of the 2015 rule. "Farmers and ranchers across this country are cheering EPA's proposal today to ditch its flawed Waters of the USA rule", Duvall said. The rule was crafted by the Obama administration to explicitly address public, industry, and regulatory confusion over which waterways were actually protected under the Clean Water Act, and it was finalized following hundreds of stakeholder meetings and public hearings on the issue.
EPA and the Army Corps said Tuesday they have begun deliberations and outreach on the second step rulemaking involving a re-evaluation and revision of the definition of "waters of the United States" in accordance with Trump's executive order. When it is completed, the agencies said, they will undergo a broader review of which waters should fall under federal jurisdiction.
The Environmental Protection Agency will rescind an Obama-era regulation that critics argued would expand federal control over non-navigable bodies of water on private property. He said the Obama rule was "a federal land grab created to put a straitjacket on farming and private businesses across this nation".
The EPA says the decision is part of a two step process to provide more certainty and provide more regulatory powers to the states.
In February, President Trump signed an executive order providing relief from the WOTUS rule. Ensuring that their water is safe to drink requires keeping those streams clean from industrial and agricultural pollution. "We know the importance of clean water, and farmers and ranchers work hard to protect our natural resources every day".
In a statement to press, Hauter acknowledged that the rule was "far from flawless", but argued that it was "a step in the right direction", casting Trump's move as "giant steps backwards in clean water protections, back to the days of massive fish kills and rivers on fire". "I applaud the EPA for taking additional steps to repeal the WOTUS rule, which has burdened rural Nevadans and stifled job creation in Nevada". "We'll stand up to this reckless attack on our waters and health".
The EPA will publish the proposal in the Federal Register within days, at which point the agency will start accepting comments from the public.
WOTUS was unpopular with ag groups nationwide, but North Dakota ag producers were particularly critical of it. Sloughs, potholes and other small, often temporary bodies of water are common in the state, and North Dakota farmers anxious about the impact of WOTUS.