INDUSTRY STATEMENTS ON WOTUS

Lindsay Mitchell

May, 28, 2015  |  Today's News

The EPA released their revised Waters of the U.S. ruling yesterday. The proposed rule is lengthy and requires time to review, but many industry leaders made statements reflecting their opinions of the EPA’s initial overreach of power. Illinois Corn Growers Association is studying the 300+ page document to best understand its implications.

The following are statements from industry stakeholders with regard to the WOTUS ruling:

"We cannot comment on the specifics of the revised rule until we have had a chance to fully review it. We especially want to ensure that the broad promises made in the EPA press release are carried out in the text of this comprehensive rule. With the earlier round of proposed rules, NCGA was concerned that the earlier proposed rule represented a significant expansion of federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction relative to anything that has ever been in rulemaking before. We especially will look closely at how on-farm ditches, ponds and puddles are treated in the rule. As in the past, we will work with EPA as much as possible to ensure we have rules in place that are clear and workable for farmers."

~ Chip Bowling, Maryland farmer and president of the National Corn Growers Association

“Make no mistake about it: the impact of the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. ruling will be felt far and wide.  Here in Southern Illinois, our proud agricultural heritage will now be put at risk by federal bureaucrats intent on telling our farmers and family businesses how to use their land.  This unprecedented power grab over America’s waters upends the balanced, federal-state partnership that has regulated U.S. waters for over 40 years under the Clean Water Act.  I have voted to scrap this rule in the past, and I will continue to fight this shameful overreach in the future.” U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final “waters of the U.SI am greatly disappointed, but unfortunately not surprised, by today’s announcement,” said Davis. “This is yet another example of the EPA ignoring the concerns of our farmers and failing to understand the real-life impact of their rules and regulations. The finalization of this rule further highlights the need and urgency for creating an agriculture subcommittee on the EPA Science Advisory Board to give agriculture a stronger voice in the regulatory process. I will continue to push for the withdrawal of this flawed rule and ensure the EPA gives our farmers a seat at the table.”

~Rep. Mike Bost (IL-12)

“I recently supported a bipartisan effort to have EPA reevaluate their rule to define what waters should be regulated by the EPA due to concerns that these regulations were developed without sufficient state and local input, including insufficient participation from Illinois farmers. I will continue to urge the EPA to consult more closely with state and local officials to develop new proposals that balance the views of Illinois farmers with the need to ensure our waterways are clean and healthy.”

~Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17)

“The White House says the only people who have a reason to oppose this disastrous rule are ‘polluters who knowingly threaten our clean water.’ Well they should tell that to the hardworking farmers and struggling small business owners in my district who see right through this EPA power grab; they should tell it to the state and local governments who spoke out against this federal overreach; and they should tell it to their own Small Business Administration, who urged EPA and the Corp to withdraw the rule last year. This fight is far from over. I’ve cosponsored and voted in support of two bipartisan bills to stop this economically devastating rule, and I will continue to oppose this erosion of Americans’ property rights until the Administration ditches their bad WOTUS rule for good.”

~Congressman John Shimkus (IL-15)

"I am disappointed but not surprised that the EPA has decided to move forward with a rule that would increase confusion and red tape. Farmers, ranchers, local communities and businesses all expressed concern with the negative impacts of this rule. Despite that, EPA either wasn’t willing to listen or simply just does not get it. I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to explore all available options to ensure these arbitrary and subjective regulations never go into effect." 

~ Colin Peterson, House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member

“As is the case with any expansive document, we need the time to determine the potential impacts of this rule for soybean operations in our 30 growing states before we decide how we want to respond. Our farmers and staff will analyze the rule and we will make a full statement once we’ve done so. It bears repeating, however, that we haven’t been given an opportunity to comment on EPA’s revision of the rule. We voiced strong opposition to the original version, and while we are encouraged by the agency’s willingness to revisit the rule and potentially address farmer concerns, we are very much in a ‘trust but verify’ mode. ASA needs to establish that the rule does not affect everyday soybean farming operations, and we are now in the process of making that determination. If we find that the rule does not live up to the promises made by EPA, we must have an opportunity to submit comments to the agency to that effect.”

~Wade Cowan, American Soybean Association President and Texas farmer

 “We are undertaking a thorough analysis of the final WOTUS rule to determine whether the Environmental Protection Agency listened to the substantive comments farmers and ranchers submitted during the comment period. Based on EPA’s aggressive advocacy campaign in support of its original proposed rule – and the agency’s numerous misstatements about the content and impact of that proposal – we find little comfort in the agency’s assurances that our concerns have been addressed in any meaningful way. The process used to produce this rule was flawed. The EPA’s proposal transgressed clear legal boundaries set for it by Congress and the Courts and dealt more with regulating land use than protecting our nation’s valuable water resources. EPA’s decision to mount an aggressive advocacy campaign during the comment period has tainted what should have been an open and thoughtful deliberative process. While we know that farmers and ranchers were dedicated to calling for substantial changes to the rule, we have serious concerns about whether their comments were given full consideration. We expect to complete our review in the next few days. We are looking in particular at how the rule treats so-called ephemeral streams, ditches, small ponds and isolated wetlands. We will decide on an appropriate course of action once that review is complete.”

~ Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation