Farmers and ranchers expressed relief following today’s action by the U.S. EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to delay implementation of a 2015 rule that expansively defined waters of the U.S. (WOTUS).
“Making these agencies realize how detrimental this rule would be to America’s food producers has been a priority issue for Farm Bureau ever since it came to light in 2015,” says MFBF President Hans McPherson. “Finally, those agencies have listened to us. The rule would have treated dry ditches, swales, puddles and ephemeral streams as water of the U.S., which would have opened up farmers, ranchers and other landowners and businesses to hefty penalties and frivolous lawsuits.”
McPherson, a diversified rancher from Stevensville, said the two agencies need to withdraw, then rework the unlawful 2015 WOTUS rule to protect water without overstepping their boundaries. “Farmers and ranchers value clean water, but they need rules that are fair, workable and don’t trample their private property rights. It’s encouraging to see the agencies are willing to put more time, thought and common sense into rewriting a rule that directly affects farmers and ranchers.”
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