Cyndi's Two Cents

WOTUS reprieve


We received good news in recent days that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers have officially repealed the Obama Administration’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule under the Clean Water Act.  EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said they’ve finalized a rule to repeal the 2015 WOTUS and will recodify the “longstanding and familiar” regulation language in place before that. 

The next step, according to Administrator Wheeler, is to clearly define where federal jurisdiction begins and ends in accordance with the Clean Water Act and Supreme Court precedent. 

“Step 2:  a new WOTUS definition that will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, home builders, and developers nationwide,” said Wheeler.

Almost every ag group in every state across our big beautiful country is applauding this move.  I agree! The 2015 WOTUS rule was the federal government attempting to control practices on our farm that could not and should not be “cookie cuttered.”  From a farm pond to a ditch, or a branch that runs into a creek, or a creek that runs into a river – those on my farm in Missouri aren’t the same as those on my parents’ farm in Illinois or my friend’s farm in Iowa or other friends’ farms in Florida, West Virginia or Oklahoma.  They aren’t the same as those on my neighbor’s farm! 

I grew up on a family farm where being a good steward of the land, air, water, livestock and wildlife was not mandated.  It was simply the way my parents were “made.”  I am grateful that I grew up in that environment and I am blessed with a husband whose respect for the land, air, water, livestock and wildlife on our farm is much the same as mine.  We are committed to making this piece of land that we own better than it was when we bought it almost 18 years ago. 

For years, we’ve heard people talk about saving the planet.  The planet will do what it needs to do to survive.  Those of us who inhabit it, however, could very well suffer the consequences of mistreating our natural resources.

I know there are bad actors in every walk of life.  There are some bad actors farming and ranching. When I hear ag groups proclaim, “All farmers are great!” it makes me uncomfortable, knowing full well they are not all great.  Not all pharmacists, chefs or 3rd grade teachers are great, either. 

It also made me uncomfortable when I heard time and again the battle cry of farmers and ranchers during the early days of the WOTUS battle “We don’t want the government on our farm!”  But the government was very much on their farms as many of them were signed up for government programs through Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service.  I’m not saying they shouldn’t take advantage of those programs available to them.  I do think the battle cry missed the mark and caused some to whisper that many of those making that statement were disingenuous.

We’ve been given a reprieve with the repeal of the 2015 WOTUS rule.  Let’s show EPA and the Army Corps and everyone else that we are good stewards and will not take for granted the natural resources that are abundant on our land.

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