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Oklahoma Farm Bureau Weighs in on the Waters of the US Rule Revisions Proposed by EPA, Corps

Thu, 18 Apr 2019 11:24:58 CDT

Oklahoma Farm Bureau Weighs in on the Waters of the US Rule Revisions Proposed by EPA, Corps Oklahoma Farm Bureau has submitted comments to the United States Environmental Protection Agency's and United States Army Corps of Engineers' proposed rule revising the definition of "waters of the United States" ("WOTUS") under the Clean Water Act.

In a letter sent to the agencies, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau commended their proposal for a revised definition that it states, "goes a long way towards providing clarity and certainty through clear definitions."

For too long, OKFB says the Agencies have attempted to expand the WOTUS definition beyond what Congress intended. They believe the proposed revisions will finally reign in this overreach once and for all.

"We believe the Proposed Rule will bring an end to the decades-long regulatory creep by appropriately giving effect to the statutory text and Congress's intent, while balancing the important goal of environmental protection with Congress's explicit policy to recognize, preserve, and protect the states' primary responsibilities over pollution control and over planning the use of land and water resources," the letter states. "The Proposed Rule does a good job of avoiding the sorts of difficult constitutional questions that prior Agency interpretations raised, and it respects the careful federal-state balance that Congress struck when it enacted the Clean Water Act ('CWA') in 1972."

According to OKFB, the Proposed Rule properly recognizes that the CWA is not a license for the Agencies to regulate every water body in the United States. Rather, it respects the unique roles of federal, state, and local entities in this country's overall regulatory scheme. However, the letter asserts that the proposed rule could be further improved with a few additional changes.

These changes suggested by OKFB include measures that would provide proper guidelines for interpreting what is and what is not a traditional navigable waters ("TNWs"); clarifying key terms that are relevant to several of the jurisdictional categories of water, such as "intermittent"; eliminating ditches as a standalone category of jurisdictional waters; excluding impoundments as a separate category of jurisdictional waters; and improving the definition of "wetlands" by expressly clarifying that a wetland must satisfy all three of the delineation criteria set out in the Proposed Rule.

"We believe these and other recommendations-detailed in our comments below-will help eliminate potential ambiguities in whatever Final Rule emerges from this rulemaking process," the letter reads. "The resulting clarity will benefit the regulated parties, government entities, and courts tasked with following and administering the CWA. It is in that spirit that we offer the following suggestions and observations."

You can review all the suggestions and comments made by the Oklahoma Farm Bureau in regard to the proposed revisions of the WOTUS rule under the CWA, by clicking or tapping the link below to access a copy of the organization's complete letter submitted to the agencies.

Oklahoma Farm Bureau Comments WOTUS Rule_04_15_19.pdf

Source - Oklahoma Farm Bureau



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