Proposed Clean Water Rule officially published

IFB support campaign kicks off. Find out how you can participate.

Most ditches and areas filled with water only after rainfall are excluded from federal control under the proposed Clean Water Rule published in the Federal Register on Thursday. (Illinois Farm Bureau file photo)

Illinois Farm Bureau kicked off its campaign Thursday to support the Clean Water Rule.

The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on Thursday after weeks of delay caused by the partial government shutdown. Its publication started a 60-day comment period.

“Now is the time for Illinois farmers to speak up,” said IFB President Richard Guebert Jr. “It’s important to thank the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers for giving farmers the clarity we asked for. We shouldn’t need a team of lawyers and engineers to make decisions on our farmland.”

To participate in the organization’s action request, text “WATERS” to 52886.

Meanwhile, IFB staff continues to analyze the 253-page rule and will provide detailed feedback to the agencies. IFB will also testify during a public hearing later this month in Kansas.

The proposal establishes six categories considered “waters of the U.S,” including:

- Traditional navigable waters.

- Tributaries to those navigable waters.

- Ditches used for navigation or effected by tides.

- Certain lakes and ponds.

- Impoundments.

- Wetlands adjacent to “waters of the U.S.”

Excluded from federal control, under the proposed rule, include features that only contain water in response to or during rainfall- prior converted cropland, groundwater, most ditches, stormwater-control features and wastewater and waste-treatment features.

The proposal represents the second in a two-step process to repeal and replace the 2015 rule finalized under President Barack Obama’s administration. A series of court rulings and injunctions have left the 2015 rule in effect in 22 states, including Illinois, and the 1980s rule in place in 28 states.

The proposal can be found at this link.

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