Scott Yager of NCBA- Navigable Waters Protection Rule Is a Huge Positive for Rural AmericaFri, 24 Jan 2020 06:58:03 CST
The Obama Era WOTUS, Waters of the US rule, is gone, and the Trump administration has come up with a replacement. It's called the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.
Scott Yager, Chief Environmental Counsel of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, likes what he sees thus far. "Well, I can tell you to start, that this is a huge improvement over the Obama administrations 2015 WOTUS rule. The Trump administration repealed that rule in September of 2019. Now today's action, that was just finalized by the EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, and the Army Corps of Engineers, this action creates the replacement. So it's a new definition of waters that are federally jurisdictional. You might be saying, Well, why do we need to do that? We got rid of WOTUS, that should be good enough. Well, the reality is, without the new definition of Waters of the US. It basically leaves the government to regulate just about anything, because there are no boundaries to where they need to adhere to. So the purpose of this new rule is two-fold. Number One, Is to pull back federal jurisdiction, pulling it back from the 2015 rule, right, and this rule clearly does that. It's a more constrained regulatory rule than 2015.
Number two. It provides more clarity to landowners.
So, if you think you might have a federally jurisdiction or water on your pasture, you have a clearer set of rules to understand what that means. So overall, it's getting rid of those ephemeral features. Those are the features that only convey water during or after a rain or snowmelt; that was something that was categorically regulated under the Obama administrations rule. So that's a huge change and pullback of federal overreach. And then also it spells out very clear exclusions for agricultural features, such as stock ponds, irrigation ditches, and the like.
Then Third, there is a really clear exclusion for prior converted cropland.
So between all three of those big changes. This is a really positive rule for rural America, and cattle producers specifically, and something we support."
Yager says this rule is almost final and will officially go into effect mid to late March.
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