IFB welcomed the new NWP rule

By Jeff Brown

Illinois Farm Bureau welcomed the new Navigable Waters Protection (NWP) rule, which ends a long period of unfriendly federal water regulations for farmers.

The NWP, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s replacement for the Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, rule is now published in the Federal Register. It provides several improvements for farmers, including clearer definitions and easier interpretation.

“We’re talking about a new rule to define the scope of federal jurisdiction over water across our country,” Illinois Farm Bureau Director of Environmental Policy Lauren Lurkins said Wednesday, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

The NWP flowed slowly, with the process to make it permanent taking off from the starting line in January. It now has a firm date for when it will arrive at the finish line: June 22, or 60 days from publishing.

“This is the important trigger date,” Lurkins said. “You’re going to see a lot of discussion on court cases or implementation activities and guidance coming out of the federal government in this timeframe.”

From the beginning, Farm Bureau has been engaged in the process to repeal WOTUS and replace it with a more favorable rule.

The organization’s commitment to environmental work on behalf of farmers extends well beyond regulations, Lurkins said.

“We’re in that area of innovation and science-driven exploration to find the balance between that environmental benefit and making sure our farmers stay sustainable and in business,” she said. “So it’s kind of a cool place to be this 50th anniversary of Earth Day.”

This story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.