Mar 1, 2017
Trump signs executive order for WOTUS review

President Trump signed an executive order on Feb. 28 for the review of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule under the Clean Water Act. The executive order directs the the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review the rule and propose a new rule to replace or revise WOTUS.

Under the executive order, the EPA will review the rule to ensure it promotes economic growth and minimizes regulatory uncertainty.

At the signing of the WOTUS executive order, Trump called the rule “one of the worst examples of federal regulation. It’s prohibiting [farmers, ranchers and agricultural workers] from being allowed to do what they’re supposed to be doing.”

To read the executive order on Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ rule, visit the

Agricultural industry organizations have since issued statements in support of the review. See statements from around the industry below.

Zippy Duvall, president, American Farm Bureau Federation:

“President Trump’s executive order to ditch the Waters of the U.S. rule is a welcome relief to farmers and ranchers across the country today.

“The flawed WOTUS rule has proven to be nothing more than a federal land grab, aimed at telling farmers and ranchers how to run their businesses. The Environmental Protection Agency failed to listen to farmers’ and ranchers’ concerns when drafting the rule and instead created widespread confusion for agriculture. Under the rule, the smallest pond or ditch could be declared a federal waterway.

Chuck Conner, president and CEO, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives:

“In issuing the WOTUS rule in 2015, the Obama Administration greatly expanded federal jurisdiction over lands that Congress never intended to be regulated by the Clean Water Act. President Trump’s action today corrects that overreach and sets the stage for a more deliberate and reasonable approach in defining what is a WOTUS.

“Farmer cooperatives look forward to working with the Administration to develop a new rule that fully protects water quality while keeping CWA implementation within the bounds of congressional intent and Supreme Court precedent.”

Paul Wenger, president, California Farm Bureau Federation:

“California farmers and ranchers pride themselves in the care they show for the land, water and other resources entrusted to them. We want to work cooperatively to maintain and improve our land, not to be subject to confusing and sometimes contradictory rules from government agencies.

We recognize the executive order as the first step in what could be a long process to undo the confusion brought by the WOTUS rule.

“Ultimately, the goal should be to provide farmers and ranchers – in California and elsewhere – the freedom to farm their land productively and with environmental certainty, while pursuing compliance with the Clean Water Act through incentives rather than coercion.”

Tom Nassif, president and CEO, Western Growers:

“We believe the 2015 WOTUS rule exceeded the federal government’s jurisdiction as defined by Congress in the Act, which only intended to give the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority over navigable waterways affecting interstate commerce.

“We are pleased with President Trump’s executive order directing the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to formally reconsider WOTUS. While we recognize this order will not immediately repeal the rule, it will provide adequate space for these federal agencies to engage state and local governments to craft an alternative solution that both fits within the boundaries prescribed in the Act and serves the best interests of the environment and key stakeholders.”

M. Reed Hopper, senior attorney, Pacific Legal Foundation:

“I can think of a no more qualified candidate for regulatory rollback than this infamous rule. It is very encouraging that the president understands the dangers of the Obama Administration’s open-ended ‘waters of the United States’ rule, because it was an unprecedented power grab.

“The Obama WOTUS rule threatened to wash away constitutional limits on federal power over local land use – and drown American landowners in a sea of unjustified federal dictates and red tape. With President Trump’s call for a re-set on this important issue, his administration should devise Clean Water Act regulations that protect the environment without undermining people’s property rights and the rule of law.”

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