Farmers and agricultural organizations across the nation have applauded President Trump’s executive order that reverses the EPA’s “Waters of the United States” rule, which gave the agency virtually limitless authority to regulate water on private land.
Introduced under President Obama in 2015, WOTUS expanded the EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Water Act to include not just “navigable waterways” but any water that might eventually flow into navigable waterways. Trump’s order asks the heads of the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to publish a proposed rule rescinding or revising the rule for notice and comment—the first step in what is likely to be long administrative review process that many expect to end up at the Supreme Court.
At a White House signing ceremony on Feb. 28, the president called the rule, which has never been implemented because of a series of lawsuits, “one of the worst examples of federal regulation.”
“It’s been a disaster,” he went on, claiming that the EPA had decided it could regulate “nearly every puddle or every ditch on a farmer’s land or any place else that they decide.”
Farmers and landowners have also criticized the rule, saying there are already too many government regulations that affect their businesses. And while changes won’t happen overnight, the agricultural industry is hoping that any revised rule will be transparent and fair for America’s farmers and ranchers.
“The executive action taken by President Trump marks the beginning of the end of the Waters of the U.S. rule,” Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst said in a statement, pointing out that some 99 percent of Missouri land would be impacted by the rule. “The repeal of the rule shows the strength of the grassroots and the importance of people belonging to organizations where one voice can make a difference.”