Clements: The American Farm Bureau Federation praised the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to collaborate closely with state governors regarding revision of the Waters of the United States rule. AFBF general counsel Ellen Steen says the outreach represents a new openness from the EPA.
Steen: It’s a refreshing new openness on the part of U.S. EPA to receiving input from the states in the area of water quality regulation. It reflects, we hope, a less top-down, heavy-handed approach from U.S. EPA.
Clements: Steen says for agriculture and Farm Bureau, the collaboration offers a new opportunity to work with state governments to provide input on the revised WOTUS rule.
Steen: We’re all going to have opportunities to influence that new rule over the next year, but early influence is always really important and this is an early opportunity to work with your state and try to shape the future of the new rule.
Clements: She says agriculture can benefit from the EPA’s openness to state collaboration.
Steen: The agency, in being open to state influence, is showing that it may actually be willing to acknowledge there are some waters out there -- there are some wet spots and low spots on your farmland -- that ought not be regulated by the federal government and ought to be left for the states to protect. And that in the long run I think is what we stand to gain.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.
Communications Assistant, AFBF