“The proposed WOTUS rule exposes farmers to arbitrary and confusing case-by-case determinations,” said Heather Hampton+Knodle, President of American Agri-Women.
The proposed rule features an overreaching, expanded definition of the qualifications of WOTUS to include ephemeral drainage paths, low drainage areas, artificial ponds, and ditches. In addition, the proposed rule removes exemptions for several agricultural related activities. These changes would lead to increased regulations, complex permitting, and increased costs.
Hampton+Knodle said, “Given the Agency's past abuse of their authority under the Constitution and the Clean Water Act, AAW members are convinced this proposed rule will be detrimental to our livelihoods and ability to produce food, fiber and renewable fuels for our country.”
The letter emphasized that the proposed WOTUS rule fails to follow legal decisions and precedent set by the courts as well the intent of Congress. In contrast, the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) provides clear and concise definitions and regulations that follow the law.
Gayle Baker, P.E., AAW Issue Lead for Water Quality, said, “I work with farmers that are trying to achieve Prior Converted Cropland determinations, which under this proposed rule, would not have the previous exemptions regarding the ‘Change of Use’ policy. This, as well as other exemptions that are no longer included in the rule, would restrict farming activities and regulate farming and ranching operations. It is so important that AAW’s voice is heard on this proposed rule.”
AAW expressed concerns that the proposed rule removes the power to administer the Clean Water Act from the states and prescribes limited management practices that will stifle innovation and best solutions for site-specific sustainability.
The AAW letter concludes, “One thing is clear: even though America’s farmers and ranchers care about the land, care for it because it is paramount to our livelihoods and our nation’s food security, and we continue to innovate our farming methods based on science and research, the Agencies and the proposed rule will make it more difficult to improve the land and water practices, thereby hampering our self-sufficiency and potentially leading to negative impacts on our land and water due to bureaucratic interference.”
About American Agri-Women
American Agri-Women (AAW) promotes the welfare of our national security through a safe and reliable food, fiber and energy supply. Since 1974, AAW members have worked together to educate consumers, advocate for agriculture, and offer networking and professional development opportunities. Go to the AAW web site for more information and to join, www.americanagriwomen.org. Find AAW on social media at: Facebook.com/AgriWomen/, Twitter.com/Women4Ag/(@Women4Ag) and Instagram.com/americanagriwomen/ (@americanagriwomen.) #standupspeakout4ag