Nov 30, 2017
On Tuesday, November 28th, American Soybean Association submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on step two of the proposal to repeal and replace the 2015 era Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. The Agency requested input from stakeholders in preparation for developing a new rule and definition of “Waters of the U.S.”
The comments reflected the need for key modifications to be included in any re-write of the rule. These included preventing any expansion of regulatory authority to include waters considered to have a “nexus” to waters under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. The comments also made clear that prior converted cropland, tile drainage and maintenance of existing tile and drainage ditches do not fall under the jurisdiction of WOTUS.
ASA applauded the Administration’s approach to abandon the 2015 proposed rule and the February 28, 2017 Executive Order to write a rule that interprets “navigable waters” consistent with the opinion of Justice Antonin Scalia in the Rapanos v. United States case. The comments urged development of a new rule “protects our waters while respecting the role of states and giving more certainty to the agriculture community.”
Timeline on a new proposal is uncertain. The comment period closed on November 28, 2017.