On Wednesday, the EPA issued their final rule covering what is a Water of the United States (WOTUS). The rule is nearly 300 pages long and very complex. The EPA stated that they felt that the rule protected crucial waters without expanding their jurisdiction.
After a quick read, and given the changes they made to statutory language and opinions of the Supreme Court, I disagree. A more thorough analysis of the rule is being undertaken by a number of organizations, including the American Soybean Association.
Brian Deese, senior White House advisor said “the only people with reason to oppose the rule are polluters who threaten our clean water…”
Again, I disagree. Every American should be looking at what the regulatory agencies are doing. By putting out a rule that is contrary to the language of the Clean Water Act and the opinion of the Supreme Court, the EPA has invited increased litigation on this issue and added another source of confusion on the definition of WOTUS. This delay and confusion will hurt everybody and not help clean up water.
Similarly, in Minnesota we are left scratching our heads on what buffer language we will see enacted in state law. The legislature did pass language on buffers. This language was very different then the language Gov. Mark Dayton first proposed.
The language, passed in the wee hours of the night, raises a number of questions. There are a number of items that are unclear in this language. Now that the negotiations are behind closed doors and not in committee hearings, we are shut out of the process.
The language passed should not be focused on something someone driving by in their car can feel good about. Conservation practices should have real effects on water quality and be focused in areas where they can actually help clean up water.
Buffers are just one of these practices. The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association will continue to work on these issues. Clean water rules and conservation practice legislation should be focused on cleaning water and not hurting farmers.