The Trump administration’s recent announcement of a proposed new Waters of the United States rule was met with approval from the National Pork Producers Council.
The regulation would replace the WOTUS rule issued in August 2015 by the Obama administration’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That measure gave EPA broad jurisdiction over U.S. waters to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters.
Prior to the 2015 rule, EPA’s jurisdiction over waterways — based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions — included “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters.
“The 2015 rule was overbroad and poorly written,” says NPPC president Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. “Everyone, particularly farmers, wants clean water, but the old regulation wasn’t about clean water. It was a massive land grab that promoted federal control over private property, grew the size of government and allowed activists to extort and micromanage all kinds of farming and business activities.
“We’re pleased the Trump EPA is replacing it and that the agency took input from farmers in coming up with a new rule that will be practical and workable and, unlike the previous rule, that will protect the nation’s waterways,” Heimerl says.