Friday, March 24, 2017

Just in from AFBF

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (r) talks with Will Rodger, AFBF's director of policy communications. 

EPA Chief: Agency Will be States’ Partner in Environmental Issues

 Washington—Just days into his tenure as EPA chief, Administrator Scott Pruitt was at President
 Donald Trump’s side as the president signed an executive order repealing the Waters of the U.S.
 rule. In an exclusive interview with the American Farm Bureau, Pruitt said the WOTUS repeal is
 ushering in a new era at EPA, one in which states have primacy and private property owners have
 certainty. 

According to Pruitt, regulators totally missed the marked with WOTUS, going well beyond the 
authority afforded the agency under the Clean Water Act and writing a rule that had farmers, builders
 and many others fearful for their livelihoods.I’m so thankful that we are taking steps already to
 address this. The agency doesn’t have jurisdiction over puddles. [Regulators] don’t have jurisdiction
 over dry creek beds. People across the country canrest assured that we are going to get that fixed. 
— EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on WOTUS

Pruitt is particularly focused on restoring states’ leadership when it comes to the environment.

“At the end of the day the goal has to be regulatory certainty, objectively measured, so that the
 role of the EPAand the role of the state departments of environmental quality, and the water resources
 boards and all those agencies at the state levels—as well as private property owners and towns and
 municipalities across the countrythat make land-use decisions—that their authority, their power, their
 decision-making is respected and that westay in our lane,” he said.

In that vein, Pruitt said the agency will no longer issue de facto rules under the guise of guidance.

“Guidance is supposed to do what? It’s supposed to give you guidance in respect to rules that are 
already inexistence,” Pruitt noted, emphasizing that there’s a well-defined rulemaking process desig to
 ensure that all stakeholders’ voices are heard by regulators.

“We don’t have all the answers here, and when agencies make rules, they need to know how it 
impacts peoplein all the states across the country and they need to hear from those people and 
respond to those folks and say, ‘I hear you, and here’s how we’re going to address that and we
 think that’s an important point.’ That’s what rulemaking should be about,” he said.

Acknowledging that there’s a time and place for enforcement, and, if need be, prosecution, Pruit 
emphasized that the agency will first approach states as allies, rather than adversaries.

“I really believe citizens care about the water they drink and the air they breathe. We need to believe
 that, trust that and restore that trust between this agency and the states,” he said.

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