The Trump Administration is proposing a new Waters of the U.S. rule to replace the much-criticized WOTUS rule the Obama Administration issued in 2015. The new EPA-Army Corps WOTUS rule could finally simplify and clear up confusion over what is and isn’t a water the government can require a permit to change under the Clean Water Act.
Gone, could be jurisdiction over many ditches, potholes, and streams that only fill up when it rains, and the threat of huge fines for not having a permit.
American Farm Bureau’s Don Parrish says it should be something they can support, “primarily because this administration has done so much outreach and I think they’re going to provide the kind of clarity we need to protect water quality and provide the clarity that keeps farmers out of the problems with the Clean Water Act.”
And in the process the Obama-era rule would come to an end.
“I think most Corps staff that are having to implement this understand that this rule is short-lived,” he said. “It’s going to go away either one way or the other. Either the courts are going to find it illegal, or this administration is going to finalize a rule that repeals it, and they’re not necessarily in favor of doing work that will have to be redone.”
Parrish says a Texas judge could rule soon on the Obama era WOTUS rule that regulates vast tracts of land features nationwide, and is still in force in 22-states.
“And if he rules that this rule was adopted either reading the term navigable out of the Clean Water Act or whether it violated the constitution in some way, we’re going to know that right after the first of the year in all likelihood.”
The Texas ruling, or others, and the new rule, itself, could also be challenged in the courts, to which Parrish says, “then we’ll litigate that rule.”
The American Soybean Association is among those groups pleased that EPA and Army Corps of Engineers have developed a proposed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that takes into account comments by ASA and other impacted stakeholders. ASA says “soybean producers appreciate the significance of clean water and strive to be responsible stewards of our water, land and environment. But it is important that any policies be in line with the intent of the law and the rulings of the Supreme Court, to protect our resources through responsible and practical rules and regulations.”