WASHINGTON, D.C. (WEHT) Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency re-wrote a definition of what’s covered under the Waters of the United States (or WOTUS) rules. Senator Rand Paul issued a response on Monday:
“Kentucky’s farmers and agricultural industry suffered when the Obama administration implemented its burdensome WOTUS rule, and now the Biden administration has chosen to follow in their footsteps by appeasing the far left’s priorities over the economic well-being of farmers across America. Their new rule essentially reverts to pre-2015 standards, which regulates every puddle and ditch in America, and further intrudes on Americans’ private property rights and the Constitution’s limits on federal power.”
The EPA’s ruling was issued before consultations with the agriculture industry were finished. The ruling would cause WOTUS definitions to revert to pre-2015 terms set by the Obama administration, which were less clear on which bodies of water were covered under WOTUS.
“Farm families have always been on the forefront of good stewardship when it comes to natural resources, and certainly taking care of their water supplies is paramount,” ” said Mark Haney, President of the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation. “But as the EPA proposes to return to the pre-2015 interpretation of WOTUS, we need to have some clear directions on the definition of navigable waterways that are not subject to change with every new administration.”
The EPA ruling would also overturn the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule that was applauded by the agriculture industry. Senator Paul’s proposed Defense of Environment and Property Act would reinstate the definitions and protections from the former protection rule.
“Cattlemen depend on clean water for the health of our livestock and the sustainability of our operations. We know the importance of protecting and maintaining traditionally navigable waters and abutting wetlands, however, jurisdiction over prior converted cropland, stock ponds, and agricultural ditches is an unnecessary burden to livestock producers,” said the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association.