In this file:
· Trump EPA rolls back Obama-era water protections to boost industry
· Trump administration rolls back landmark water protections
· NCBA: Cattlemen Applaud Finalization of WOTUS Repeal
· NPPC Applauds EPA's Actions to Finalize New WOTUS Rule
· Secretary Perdue Statement on EPA WOTUS Announcement
· 'Nightmare Is Over,' EPA Repeals WOTUS
· WOTUS Repealed, Will Get ‘Redefined,’ EPA Says
Trump EPA rolls back Obama-era water protections to boost industry
Valerie Volcovici, Reuters
September 12, 2019
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration on Thursday announced repeal of an Obama-era regulation that had expanded pollution protections for waterways such as wetlands and shallow streams, but that farmers, miners and manufacturers decried as overreach.
The widely anticipated move to repeal the 2015 Waters of the United States rule, known as “WOTUS,” is part of a broader effort by President Donald Trump to roll back environmental regulations to boost industry. Environmental groups called the move “shameful and dangerous.”
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said that the EPA and the U.S. Army would reinstate water rules that were issued in the 1980s, and would begin re-defining which waterways can be regulated, a task to be completed by this winter.
“Today’s Step 1 action fulfills a key promise of President Trump and sets the stage for Step 2 – a new WOTUS definition that will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, home builders, and developers nationwide,” Wheeler said in a statement.
“This final rule reestablishes national consistency across the country,” said R.D. James, assistant secretary of the U.S. Army for civil works. He said it will eliminate the “patchwork” of definitions of waterways regulated under the Clean Water Act as a result of various court decisions enjoining the 2015 rule.
The Obama-era rule had been in place in 22 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories while the 1980s-era regulations were in place in 27 states.
President Barack Obama’s Waters of the United States rule had defined which streams and wetlands are protected by the 1972 Clean Water Act from pollutants including pesticides, fertilizers and mine waste. Farmers and industry groups had said the rule went too far, impeding their operations by extending restrictions to small, un-navigable waters.
Environmental groups have said the Obama rule was necessary to protect drinking water sources at risk from agri-business and industry.
Earthjustice and other environmental groups on Thursday warned that the Trump administration repeal will threaten drinking water and weaken safeguards that help reduce flooding and filter out pollution from streams and wetlands.
“President Trump’s administration wants to turn back the clock to the days of poisoned flammable water. This is shameful and dangerous,” said Abigail Dillen, Earthjustice president...
Trump administration rolls back landmark water protections
By Annie Snider, POLITICO
The Trump administration will on Thursday repeal one of the Obama era's most sweeping environmental rules — a set of pollution protections for small streams and wetlands that had riled up opposition from coal miners, home developers, farmers and oil and gas drillers.
The action creates instant doubts about the legal status of myriad seasonal or isolated wetlands and thousands of miles of waterways, including vast swaths of the arid West. And it clears the way for the Environmental Protection Agency to finish a follow-up regulation in the coming months that could leave most of the nation's wetlands without any federal safeguards.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is poised to sign off on the repeal at the D.C. headquarters of the National Association of Manufacturers, one of the industry groups that had opposed the Obama administration's Waters of the U.S. rule. That 2015 regulation, also known as the Clean Water Rule, had cemented federal protections for headwater streams, Western rivers and nearby wetlands, in an effort to resolve questions raised by two muddled Supreme Court decisions.
Environmental groups vowed to challenge the rollback, arguing that it jeopardizes drinking water supplies for 117 million Americans.
Jon Devine, director of federal water policy for the Natural Resources Defense Council, defended the Obama administration rule in a statement, saying it "represented solid science and smart public policy."
“The Trump administration’s wild-eyed attempts to reward polluters, however, knows no bounds, so it is repealing these important protections without regard for the law or sound science," he said. "This unsubstantiated action is illegal and will certainly be challenged in court.”
Republican lawmakers and industry groups argue that the Obama-era rule represented a vast federal overreach that intruded upon states' authority to regulate their own waterways.
"This action officially ends an egregious power grab and sets the stage for a new rule that will provide much-needed regulatory certainty for farmers, home builders, and property owners nationwide," Wheeler wrote in an opinion piece in the Des Moines Register this morning.
Thursday's action represents the first step in a major rollback of Clean Water Act protections that President Donald Trump had directed in an executive order shortly after coming into office.
In repealing Obama's rule, Wheeler's action restores earlier regulations that had governed Clean Water Act permitting before 2015. Both environmentalists and industry groups have complained that the pre-2015 rules are laborious and lead to inconsistent decisions.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration is crafting a subsequent regulationthat it hopes to finish before the end of the year to replace those rules with a much narrower definition of the types of streams and wetlands that are subject to Clean Water Act permitting requirements...
Cattlemen Applaud Finalization of WOTUS Repeal
Source: National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA)
Sep 12, 2019
WASHINGTON (Sept. 12, 2019) - National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston today issued the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency's finalization of repeal of the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule:
“Cattle producers are the nation’s original environmental stewards – we work hard to ensure that our natural resources remain pristine and to implement conservation practices to protect our water resources. The 2015 WOTUS Rule was an illegal effort by the federal government to assert control over both land and water, significantly impacting our ability to implement vital conservation practices.
“After years spent fighting the 2015 WOTUS Rule in the halls of Congress, in the Courts, and at the EPA, cattle producers will sleep a little easier tonight knowing that the nightmare is over. Thanks to President Trump and Administrator Wheeler for their commitment to farmers and ranchers, and restoring the rule of law. NCBA looks forward to the finalization of a practical Waters of the United States definition that will protect our water resource while allowing cattle producers to do their jobs effectively.”
NPPC Applauds EPA's Actions to Finalize New WOTUS Rule
Source: National Pork Producers Council (NPPC)
Sep 12, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 12, 2019 –The National Pork Producers Council applauded today's action by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), repealing the previous Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule and laying the groundwork for a new final rule.
The previous WOTUS rule was issued by the Obama administration in August 2015, giving EPA broad jurisdiction over U.S. waters to include other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams that farmers use for drainage and irrigation. Most importantly, it also covered lands adjacent to waters such as farm fields. 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.
"We're pleased the EPA is moving towards a common sense WOTUS rule that works with—not against—farmers to protect our nation's waterways," said NPPC President David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C. "The previous WOTUS rule was a dramatic government overreach and an unprecedented expansion of federal authority over private lands. Today's action will remove the threat that the 2015 WOTUS rule posed for our ability to efficiently grow the amount of food needed by people around the globe, while providing regulatory certainty to our farmers and businesses. We look forward to working with this administration to finally implement a new WOTUS rule," he added.
NPPC had opposed the 2015 WOTUS rule because it was overly broad and had significant technical flaws, including the process that EPA used to develop the rule, which violated basic due process and long-standing procedural protections. On Aug. 21, 2019, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia remanded the rule to EPA to redraft, stating that the Obama-era WOTUS rule itself violated the Clean Water Act and that the Obama administration's procedures for enacting the WOTUS rule were clearly in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.
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NPPC is the global voice for the U.S. pork industry, protecting the livelihoods of America's 60,000 pork producers, who abide by ethical principles in caring for their animals, in protecting the environment and public health and in providing safe, wholesome, nutritious pork products to consumers worldwide. For more information, visit www.nppc.org.
Secretary Perdue Statement on EPA WOTUS Announcement
Source: USDA Office of Communications
Sept 12, 2019
(Washington, D.C., September 12, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today praised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for taking another step to fulfill President Trump’s pledge to repeal and replace the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
“Repealing the WOTUS rule is a major win for American agriculture. The extreme overreach from the past Administration had government taking the productivity of the land people had worked for years,” Secretary Perdue said. “Farmers and ranchers are exceptional stewards of the land, taking great care to preserve it for generations to come. President Trump is making good on his promise to reduce burdensome regulations to free our producers to do what they do best – feed, fuel, and clothe this nation and the world.”
One of President Trump’s earliest acts in office was an Executive Order directing EPA and the Army Corps to review and potentially replace the Obama Administration’s definition of the “Waters of the United States.” The EPA and the Army Corps have repealed the 2015 Rule that impermissibly expanded the definition of “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The agencies upcoming action will restore the regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 Rule and will end the inconsistent regulatory patchwork that has created uncertainty and has hindered projects from moving forward that can benefit both the environment and the economy. The repeal remedies the legal and procedural deficiencies of the 2015 Rule, addresses the extensive litigation surrounding it, and recodifies and restores a regulatory process that has been in place for years. The new rule will provide regulatory certainty to our nation's farmers and businesses as to the definition of “Waters of the United States.”
To learn more about EPA’s WOTUS Rule, click here:
'Nightmare Is Over,' EPA Repeals WOTUS
Greg Henderson, Drovers
September 12, 2019
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army finalized a rule to repeal the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), the 2015 federal regulation of waters and wetlands.
The action officially ends an Obama-era action called a “power grab” and sets the stage for a new rule that will provide much-needed regulatory certainty for farmers, home builders, and property owners nationwide.
In Washington, D.C., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Department of the Army Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James announced the repeal of the 2015 rule that impermissibly expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The agencies are also recodifying the longstanding and familiar regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 Rule—ending a regulatory patchwork that required implementing two competing Clean Water Act regulations, which has created regulatory uncertainty across the United States.
“Today’s Step 1 action fulfills a key promise of President Trump and sets the stage for Step 2 – a new WOTUS definition that will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, home builders, and developers nationwide,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.
“Before this final rule, a patchwork of regulations existed across the country as a result of various judicial decisions enjoining the 2015 Rule,” said R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works...
WOTUS Repealed, Will Get ‘Redefined,’ EPA Says
Rhonda Brooks, FarmJournal's Pork
September 12, 2019
On Thursday, a 2015 rule that expanded the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act was formally revoked.
“Let’s just call it what it was, an example of the worst kind of regulatory overreach,” said U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), of the Obama-era WOTUS rule, during the announcement.
“Repealing the rule is a major win for American agriculture,” noted U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, in remarks he made at the presentation. “Farmers and ranchers are exceptional stewards of the land, taking great care to preserve it for generations to come. President Trump is making good on his promise to reduce burdensome regulations to free our producers,” he added.
The formal announcement repealing WOTUS was made jointly by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, R.D. James, in Washington, D.C. and broadcast live via Facebook.
Wheeler said there will be a two-step rulemaking process to redefine the scope of WOTUS.
“Today’s step 1 action fulfills a key promise of President Trump and sets the stage for Step 2—a new WOTUS definition that will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, home builders, and developers nationwide,” he noted.
According to an EPA news release, the two federal district courts that have reviewed the merits of the 2015 rule found that the rule suffered from certain errors and issued orders remanding the 2015 rule back to the agencies. Multiple other federal district courts have preliminarily enjoined the 2015 rule, citing its failures.
According to the EPA news release, the 2015 rule: