Support for the EPA and U.S. Army Corps' Revamped Clean Water Rule

A broad ranging Nebraska-based coalition representing interests from agriculture, business, and rural power, to home builders, golf course managers, and local government entities have registered support for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) newly proposed Clean Water Rule. Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson offered supportive testimony on behalf of the “Common Sense Nebraska” coalition during the agencies’ field hearing on the proposal, February 28 in Kansas City, Kansas.

“Our coalition partners want a rule that provides a framework for clean water protection, but also clearly identifies waters subject to federal jurisdiction. We believe the EPA and Corps have moved in the right direction with this new proposal on those fronts,” Nelson told agency officials.

The proposal would replace the agencies’ Obama era, 2015 “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule that drew fierce opposition from the Nebraska coalition.

“Our coalition partners are committed to protecting the land and water resources under our stewardship, however, the 2015 WOTUS rule was not about clean water, but instead about a massive expansion of federal authority over private lands and infringement upon individual property rights,” said Nelson.

In his testimony, Nelson highlighted several key points demonstrating the improvement the new rule makes over the previously proposed WOTUS rule. Included among those points were:

  • The proposal respects the historical limits of the federal Clean Water Act by regulating the ‘navigable waters’ that have long been recognized as falling under federal authority.

  • It provides a clear list of waters and land features which are exempt from federal regulation, including, ground water, ditches, and ephemeral drainage areas where water only runs during rainfall events. The WOTUS rule opened the door for federal regulation of all these features.

  • The proposal respects the state of Nebraska’s rights to regulate state waters as originally intended by Congress.

“America’s farmers, ranchers, and other landowners shouldn’t need a team of attorneys and consultants to tell them what they can and can’t do with their property. This new proposal eliminates regulatory uncertainty brought by the 2015 WOTUS rule,” said Nelson.

Common Sense Nebraska Coalition members include:

Association of General Contractors - NE Chapter

Farm Credit Services of America

Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association

National Federation of Independent Businesses/Nebraska

Nebraska Agribusiness Association

Nebraska Association of County Officials

Nebraska Association of Resource Districts

Nebraska Bankers Association

Nebraska Cattlemen

Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Nebraska Club Management Association

Nebraska Cooperative Council

Nebraska Corn Board

Nebraska Corn Growers Association

Nebraska Farm Bureau

Nebraska Golf Course Superintendents Association

Nebraska Grain and Feed Association

Nebraska Grain Sorghum Association

Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board

Nebraska Pork Producers Association

Nebraska Poultry Industries

Nebraska Rural Electric Association

Nebraska Soybean Association

Nebraska State Dairy Association

Nebraska State Home Builders Association

Nebraska State Irrigation Association

Nebraska Water Resources Association

Nebraska Wheat Board

Nebraska Wheat Growers Association

Nemaha Natural Resources District

Pawnee County Rural Water District #1

Photo and information courtesy of the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

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