WOTUS repeal applauded by Farm Bureau, but now the hard work of rewriting the rule begins

Ditching the controversial rewrite to the Waters of the U.S. rule is a long-standing priority for the American Farm Bureau Federation and its members, so President Trump’s decision last month to issue an executive order repealing the rule came as welcome news for Farm Bureau.

“Farmers and ranchers have been calling for a common-sense approach to regulatory reform,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “has too long been characterized by regulatory overreach that disregards the positive conservation efforts of farmers and threatens their very way of life,” Duvall said, adding that a lot of work needs to be done to ensure that any revised rule is transparent and fair for America’s farmers and ranchers.

“We applaud the approach to repeal and replace the rule,” stated INFB’s Justin Schneider, who has been active on the WOTUS issue for years now. “The approach that’s being taken by the Trump administration is similar to the approach pushed by Indiana Sen. Donnelly in 2015 – to get the agency to sit down with stakeholders,” noted Schneider. That bipartisan effort, supported by INFB and AFBF, fell three votes short of advancing in the Senate.

The next step is for EPA to write a new rule.

In an interview with Newsline, AFBF’s public policy podcast, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said the repeal will bring certainty in water regulation for farmers and ranchers.

At the end of the day, Pruitt said, the goal has to be “regulatory certainty, objectively measured,” so that EPA’s role and the role of state and local governmental units that have land-use authority are clear and so that “their authority, their power, their decision-making is respected and that we stay in our lane.”