Kansas politicians and several agricultural groups Tuesday applauded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's announcement that it would rescind a controversial Clean Water Act rule that, opponents say, gives the government a broad jurisdiction over water.
The proposal – expected to be published in the Federal Register in the coming days – will repeal the Waters of the United States, or WOTUS.
The Clean Water Act, passed in 1972, was enacted to protect the nation's waters from pollution.
The act was updated in 2015 to better define waterways - such as streams and other bodies of water.
Opponents feared the new rule would have extended the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ regulatory reach into small waterways, ditches and ponds on Kansas farms, ranches and land developments.
What they say:
Gov. Sam Brownback:
"The Clean Water Rule was another example of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. trying to run Kansas farms and ranches. Our state is a leader in water innovation, and Kansans have come together through community-led water preservation efforts spurred by our 50-year Water Vision. Our farmers and ranchers know best how to steward their water. We appreciate that President Trump and the EPA will now let our farmers farm and ranchers ranch.”
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt
“Kansans have argued for years that the Obama administration’s WOTUS Rule was an unlawful overreach by the federal government that invaded state authority and offended private property rights. I applaud today’s efforts to begin withdrawing this rule, which multiple federal courts have agreed was unlawfully crafted and which we have successfully blocked by federal court order. Moving forward to formally repeal the WOTUS rule marks another step in returning traditional powers to the state, local governments and individual property owners.”
Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas
“This is a big win for Kansas farmers, ranchers, energy producers, and small business owners alike. The withdrawal of this burdensome rule – in tandem with the billions in regulatory relief already provided by Congress and the Trump Administration – will go a long way towards jump starting our economy on the whole, and especially help our farmers who have seen their income slashed in half over the last four years.”
Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas
"I commend and thank the Trump Administration for their decisive and effective actions to repeal the misguided Waters of the United States rule.
As Kansas farmers, ranchers, businesses and even municipalities know all to well, WOTUS dramatically expanded the reach of the federal government with minimal improvements in water quality.
Today’s announcement serves as a tremendous relief to Kansans and provides the regulatory certainty we need to grow. This is yet another exciting step in fulfilling this Administration and Congress’ promise to return government to its proper role."
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas
“I’m pleased Administrator Pruitt and the EPA has listened to our concerns and has taken an important first step to rescind the infamous WOTUS rule. For too long, this rule has burdened not only farmers and ranchers, but landowners of all sizes, across the country. With a rewrite of the WOTUS rule, I look forward to seeing a rule that recognizes and respects the environmental strides taken by the American farmer and rancher. I’m grateful to have an EPA that listens to and addresses the concerns of rural America, a vital segment of our economy and true stewards of our natural resources.”
Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey
“We are pleased that this rule has been repealed, and anticipate it will make way for a more favorable approach for Kansas agriculture. Kansas has been highly successful in managing our water resources, and through the Governor’s Water Vision we continue to identify more ways to improve the future of water in the state.”