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 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.