Farmers have an additional month to comment on a proposed rule rescinding the President Barack Obama-era “waters of the U.S.” rule.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a 30-day extension of the comment period. The new deadline to comment: Sept. 27.
The move gives Illinois Farm Bureau members more time to sign an online petition in support to “drown the rule.” IFB supports EPA’s efforts to repeal the Obama-era rule.
So far, about 1,900 farmers have signed the petition. To sign the petition, go to www.ilfb.org/actioncenter.
Directed by President Donald Trump’s February executive order, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers proposed a two-step repeal and review/replacement of the WOTUS rule put in place in 2015. Each step will have its own rulemaking process and comment period.
On July 27, the agencies published the proposed repeal rule in the Federal Register, triggering a 30-day comment period. EPA and the Army Corps proposed rescinding the 2015 rule and re-codifying the regulatory language in place before 2015. “This action, when final, will not change the current practice with respect to how the definition applies,” EPA said in a news release.
The 2015 rule came under fire by various trade associations, states and environmental groups, which quickly challenged the rule in court. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a nationwide stay while it decides whether it has jurisdiction over the matter.
Under Obama, EPA maintained the rule more clearly defines which waters fall under federal jurisdiction and helps protect the country’s drinking water. IFB and other groups say the rule expands the agency’s jurisdiction beyond what Congress intended and only adds confusion.