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EPA to Finalize WOTUS Repeal in April

Washington--The Environmental Protection Agency will complete the formal repeal of the Waters of the U.S. Rule in April 2018.

An updated agenda from the White House also shows a replacement rule is scheduled for proposal in May. A final version of the rule is not expected until June 2019. President Donald Trump issued an executive order earlier this year repealing WOTUS. This was a move EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told the American Farm Bureau Federation, at the time, would bring certainty in water regulation for farmers and ranchers. AFBF has been calling on the EPA to “ditch the rule” since it was proposed during the Obama administration. 

"In respect to Waters of the US, we have been working diligently to help the Administration understand the legal technicalities of reviewing and renewing the rule and it’s a bad rule," said Julie Anna Potts of the American Farm Bureau. "They’re taking it off the table. But for us to have a real win with WOTUS we all have to have an understanding where federal authority ends and state authority begins regarding our water quality. Its very important that we put clear rules in place, but simply repealing it is not enough."

National Corn Growers Association public policy director Ethan Matthews has previously said it was important that the new rule does not say “everything under the sun” falls under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. He noted that corn growers farm over 90 million acres in the country, meaning they have a big role to play in the nation’s water quality.