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Congressman Thompson calls potential WOTUS revisions land grab, overreach

The ranking member of the House Ag Committee says the recent decision by EPA to revise the definition of ‘waters of the U.S.’ would create unneeded regulatory confusion for farmers.

Glenn GT Thompson, a Republican from Pennsylvania, tells Brownfield this is a repeat of the 2015 Navigable Waters Protection Rule change.  “I just implore the Biden administration to retain the current WOTUS definition that was set under President Trump.  If they want to rename it in their image, that’s fine but keep the language of actual guidance and not to engage in another massive land grab through government overreach.”

EPA and Army Corps of Engineers announced plans to initiate a new rulemaking process that restores the protections in place prior to the 2015 WOTUS implementation.

Thompson says when the Obama administration revisited the rule in 2015, he wanted to clarify the Clean Water Act’s jurisdiction for navigable waters. “If this was a solution, where is the problem? Where has the Clean Water Act failed?  In fact, they could provide no data and not even any anecdotal information whether it’s been a failure.  The Clean Water Act, a righteous piece of legislation, has a gone a long way to clean up our navigable waters.”

He says the administration needs to clarify the rule’s scope for producers. “In my area plus most others, if there is even a small amount of rain you find water laying on the ground. We call them mud puddles and unfortunately with no direct connection to navigable waters those under WOTUS would all be subject to federal permitting and federal jurisdiction.”

He says he’s not ruling out a study that would show the impact of a new WOTUS rule similar to his tax policy report published by Texas A&M.

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