IFB kicks off WOTUS petition drive

Farmers can sign petition to support repealing 'waters of the U.S.' definition during a 30-day comment period.

The deadline to comment on a new proposed rule to repeal the definition of “waters of the U.S” is Aug. 28. The petition can be signed online, or farmers will have the chance at the Illinois State Fair. (Photo by Catrina Rawson)
The deadline to comment on a new proposed rule to repeal the definition of “waters of the U.S” is Aug. 28. The petition can be signed online, or farmers will have the chance at the Illinois State Fair. (Photo by Catrina Rawson)
By Deana Stroisch

Time to make your voice heard.

Illinois Farm Bureau encourages farmers to sign a petition supporting a proposed federal rule to repeal the definition of “waters of the U.S” put in place under President Barack Obama’s administration. 

The new proposed rule, initiated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers, was officially published in the Federal Register last week, kicking off a 30-day comment period. The deadline to comment: Aug. 28.

“This is an important first step to bring clarity for Illinois farmers regarding what land and water the federal government controls,” said Lauren Lurkins, IFB’s director of environmental and natural resources. “Our membership has been highly engaged on this topic for decades. We want to give them the opportunity to weigh in on this public comment period and show support for the fix. We urge members not to miss this chance.”

To sign the petition, go to IFB’s Action Center, ilfb.org/actioncenter. Farmers also will have the chance to sign the petition at the Illinois State Fair.

The new proposed rule has been in the works for months. As directed by President Donald Trump’s February executive order, the federal agencies proposed two separate rule-making steps:

- First, the 2015 rule must be rescinded and the regulatory language in place before the 2015 rule would be re-codified. This won’t change current practice, since the new rule has been under a court-ordered, nationwide stay.

- Second, the definition of “waters of the U.S” will be re-evaluated and revised. Trump directed the agencies to review the final rule for consistency with the following policy: “It is in the national interest to ensure that the nation’s navigable waters are kept free from pollution, while at the same time promoting economic growth, minimizing regulatory uncertainty, and showing due regard for the roles played by Congress and the states under the constitution.”

Each new rule requires a separate comment period.

"We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation's farmers and businesses," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "This is the first step in the two-step process to redefine 'waters of the U.S.' and we are committed to moving through this re-evaluation to quickly provide regulatory certainty, in a way that is thoughtful, transparent and collaborative with other agencies and the public."

Click here to sign the petition.

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

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