The MNLA co-signed an AmericanHort-authored letter last winter that requested that the proposed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule be scrapped or significantly revised. That request, along with others by farm and business interests, was largely ignored as the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued their slightly-revised new rule, which will take effect sometime in late summer. Details on what the rule will mean are on this PowerPoint: https://mnnla.site-ym.com/resource/resmgr/eNews/DCLRS_Final-CWA-Rule.pdf
This update is from Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort:
As feared, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have pressed ahead and published their final Waters of the United States rule, rebranded as the Clean Water rule. While EPA and the White House have fine-tuned and sharpened their messaging, early review of the 300-page rule suggests few changes to the substance. As we have previously reported, the rule could subject numerous marginal waters to federal regulation and create confusion and liability for land and business owners. We will provide more detailed analysis after careful review.
Reaction to the release of the final rule, which takes effect in 60 days, was swift and negative. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), the highest ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, said the following in his official statement:
"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."
On May 12, the House passed legislation (H.R. 1732) to require the agencies to withdraw the rule and work with stakeholders to develop a new rule. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on similar legislation (S. 1140) on May 19. The Senate Small Business and Judiciary Committees are also planning hearings on the regulation. However, even if Congress were to pass legislation to overcome the rule, it may well face a White House veto.