Smith: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced his agency has begun the process of rescinding the Obama-Era “Waters of the U.S. Rule.” AFBF senior director of regulatory relations Don Parrish credits grassroots work by Farm Bureau members as one reason that the current administration understands the rule was more about regulating land than water.
Parrish: We’re very excited to be able to have the opportunity to comment on rescinding this rule and look forward to working with the administration as they finalize this rule and then move on to step two - where they actually look at something that provides a lot more clarity in the future as to what a water of the U.S. is.
Smith: Parrish says the flawed WOTUS rule gave the EPA power to regulate almost anywhere it wanted on the landscape that water might pool or run after a rain shower.
Parrish: I think we all recognize and want to protect clean water but if you extend jurisdiction to the extent that you’re regulating any water on the landscape, regardless if it’s a stream or not, that’s problematic.
Smith: Congress didn’t give the EPA authority to regulate land use and Parrish says it’s possible to have clean water without that level of intrusive regulation. Parrish says Farm Bureau grassroots members will stay involved in the rulemaking process through the next steps.
Parrish: We want to see the administration move from withdrawing the rule to step two where they actually evaluate options for providing clarity and a rule that would work not only with farmers and ranchers but with states.
Smith: Chad Smith, Washington.
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Communications Assistant, AFBF