February 28, 2017
President Donald Trump today signed an executive order requiring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider the controversial Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.
The Alabama Farmers Federation’s Mitt Walker applauded the move, saying Alabama farmers will benefit from this order.
"This order is a huge step forward in decreasing the EPA’s regulatory restrictions on land and water use,” said Walker, the Federation’s National Legislative Programs director. "President Trump has followed through on his commitment to withdraw this ridiculous rule and thus ensured farmers and landowners will not be unjustly penalized for simply making a living on the land."
Immediately after the order was signed, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt spoke at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Advocacy Conference, calling the WOTUS rule a “power grab.”
“We have lived under a narrative that if you’re pro-energy, then you’re anti-environment. We can do better than that,” said Pruitt, who challenged the EPA numerous times over his career as Oklahoma’s attorney general. “I commit to you this is just the first step in fixing what is wrong with environmental regulations.”
EPA released the final WOTUS ruling in 2015 and added vague definitions to the Clean Water Act. The rule expanded the administration’s jurisdiction to previously unregulated areas and required permits for simple changes to land, including building fences, spraying fertilizers and digging ditches.
AFBF President Zippy Duval called Trump’s executive order a welcome relief to U.S. farmers and ranchers.
“Farmers and ranchers have been calling for a common-sense approach to regulatory reform, and today the Trump administration responded to that call, “Duval said. “EPA has too long been characterized by regulatory overreach that disregards the positive conservation efforts of farmers and threatens their very way of life. Today’s action is as much a beginning as an end, and there is much work to do to ensure that any revised rule is transparent and fair for America’s farmers and ranchers.”
The Alabama Farmers Federation is the state’s largest farm organization with 360,000 members.