Legal Insurrection readers will recall that the Environmental Protection Agency under Obama enacted one of the most flagrant regulatory power grabs in American history with the Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS).

WOTUS redefine how “waters of the United States” are subject to federal regulations under the Clean Water Act. Attempted enforcement of these rules led to farmers being fined astronomical amounts after installing stock pods that had no potential impact on navigable waters, nor posed any other significant environmental threat to the community.

President Trump ordered the EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers to rescind or revise WOTUS this past February.  The two agencies are now officially moving to rescind this toxic set of rules.

The agencies say this action, when finalized, will provide certainty until they are able to reevaluate the definition of “waters of the United States.” They report that the proposed rule will be implemented “in accordance with Supreme Court decisions, agency guidance and longstanding practice.”

“We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses,” according to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. “This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine ‘waters of the U.S.,’ and we are committed to moving through this reevaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty in a way that is thoughtful, transparent and collaborative with other agencies and the public.”

The proposed rule comes on the heel of a February presidential executive order that called for a review of WOTUS, followed by “rescinding or revising” as needed.

American farmers are thrilled with this development.

This is good news. There has just been so much uncertainty for growers,” said Theresia Gillie, a Hallock, Minn., farmer and president of her state Soybean Growers Association.

Daryl Lies, a Douglas farmer and president of the North Dakota Farm Bureau, said the announcement “is a big deal and a great day for agriculture.”

…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 worried about the impact of WOTUS.

“We (North Dakota) really are the last frontier, so to speak, when it comes to small bodies of water — be it sloughs or temporary poolings of water in our field,” Lies said. “The rule under the Obama administration basically was going to monitor every drop of water that hit your field if it did any kind of pooling for any amount of time.”

I sense the Trump administration is more interested in having farmers grow crops, raise livestock, and be profitable.

South Dakota Senator John Thune was also pleased, releasing this statement:

“WOTUS was just another example of Obama-era government overreach, which placed unnecessary burdens on South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers,” Thune said. “I’m glad EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and his agency listened to the concerns of rural America and are taking steps to repeal this burdensome rule.”

Thune said WOTUS was developed by the Obama Administration’s EPA and the Corps and expanded the EPA’s federal jurisdiction and scope of waterbodies that are subject to Clean Water Act requirements.

He said it also targeted the Prairie Pothole Region, which includes nearly all of eastern South Dakota, with additional restrictions.

However, the eco-activists and progressives responded with the usual hyperbole and melodrama.  In fact, California Senator Kamala Harris (who seems to have forgotten about the Obama-EPA’s role in the Flint Water Crisis) tweeted:

The EPA under and the Army Corp of Engineers will be working on reevaluating definitions related to “Waters of the United States” for a better and more effective application of the Clean Water Act than was observed during Obama’s terms. For those interested, the pre-publication version of the proposed rule can be found by clicking HERE.

Meanwhile, American farmers are filing this under “Winning”.


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