Water regulation must focus on the farmer as environmentalist

The American Soybean Association (ASA) cheers a direction issued this week by President Donald Trump instructing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to begin the process of rolling back the controversial Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States rule. ASA President Ron Moore, who farms in the Mississippi River watershed in Western Illinois, issued the following statement on the administration’s action:

“We are very happy to see a signal of clarity to come on the Clean Water Rule from President Trump today. Our concern with the rule has always about the nonspecific and overly broad nature of the rule as written, and never about the paramount goal of cleaner water and more environmentally sound farming practices. We believe that farmers can be a productive voice in the discussion over water regulation, and we look for a seat at the table, because as farmers, our primary goals are the healthy soils and clean water that sustain us from growing season to growing season. I’m 35 miles from the Mississippi River, and I’ve farmed my land for 36 years. I count on productive soil and clean water more than any other inputs, and I wouldn’t be able to make it year to year if I fouled such important pieces of my operation. This rule, however, sought to expand EPA’s authority into places where it was either unnecessary or duplicative, without any reasonable justification for doing so. We look forward to to collaborating with President Trump, Administrator Pruitt and others in the administration and Congress to pursue clean water goals in a way that respects both the environment and the farmer as an environmentalist.”