Monday, June 8, 2015

Just in from Washington

American Farm Bureau Federation reviewing final WOTUS rule

Washington—The American Farm Bureau Federation is undertaking a thorough analysis of the final WOTUS rule—released earlier today—to determine whether the EPA listened to the substantive comments farmers and ranchers submitted during the comment period. The organization is looking in particular at how the rule treats so-called ephemeral streams, ditches, small ponds and isolated wetlands, AFBF President Bob Stallman said in a statement.

“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,” Stallman said.

Stallman also reiterated farmers and ranchers’ concern that the process used to produce the rule was flawed, with EPA’s proposal transgressing clear legal boundaries set by Congress and the courts. The rule deals more with regulating land use than protecting the 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,” he added. “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.”

After a thorough review of the rule, which Farm Bureau expects to complete in the next few days, the organization will decide on an appropriate course of action.

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