Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler, USDA’s Perdue Discuss Waters of the U.S. Rule

Associated Press writer Kimberlee Kruesi reported yesterday that, “The Trump administration on Tuesday called on farmers to throw their support behind a proposal to withdraw federal protections for many of the country’s waterways and wetlands.

“Environmental Protection Agency acting administrator Andrew Wheeler and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue on Tuesday traveled to middle Tennessee to drum up support among the state’s agricultural community in their pursuit to replace the Obama-era water protections.

“‘When Obama-EPA put forward these definitions, they claimed it was in the interest of water quality. But it was really about power, power in the hands of federal government over farmers, developers and land owners,’ Wheeler told the several hundred person crowd in the small town of Lebanon. ‘We are here today to tell you that we’re putting an end of that power grab.'”

The AP article noted that, “The changes would affect what waterways and wetlands fall under jurisdiction of the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Trump administration would remove federal protections for wetlands nationally unless they are connected to another federally protected waterway.

“Groundwater, stormwater, most farm ditches, wastewater treatment systems and land already converted for crops would also no longer be regulated under the Clean Water Act.”

Yesterday’s article added that, “‘We believe that farmers are rule followers … when you begin with that premise, it’s very unsettling to be on our own land doing what you’ve done for years and then having a federal regulator give you a summons,’ Perdue said.”

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