June 14, 2021

American Farm Bureau Federation expresses disappointment with possible reversal of waters protection rule



The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is "extremely disappointed" with the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) intention to reverse the United States' Navigable Waters Protection Rule, said its president Zippy Duvall.


According to Duvall, the "environmentally conscious" rule "brought clarity and certainty to clean water efforts."


He added: "Farmers and ranchers care about clean water and preserving the land, and they support the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.


"Administrator Regan (Michael S. Regan, Administrator of EPA) recently recognised the flaws in the 2015 Waters of the US Rule and pledged not to return to those overreaching regulations. We are deeply concerned that the EPA plans to reverse the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which puts the future of responsible protections at risk. We expected extensive outreach, but today's (June 9) announcement fails to recognise the concerns of farmers and ranchers.


Duvall also urged Regan to "keep his word to recognise the efforts of agriculture and not return to flawed, overly complicated and excessive regulations."


"We call on EPA to respect the statute, recognise the burden that overreaching regulation places on farmers and ranchers, and not write the term "navigable" out of the Clean Water Act," Duvall said. "On this issue, and particularly prior converted croplands and ephemerals, we also urge Secretary Vilsack (Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture) to ensure that we don't return to the regulatory land grab that was the 2015 WOTUS Rule.


"Clean water and clarity are paramount, and that is why farmers shouldn't need a team of lawyers and consultants to farm."