The Biden administration's decision to reverse the Navigable Waters Protection Rule will be a disaster for farmers and ranchers, the head of the nation's largest farm group says.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan ''recently recognized the flaws in the 2015 waters of the U.S. rule and pledged not to return to those overreaching regulations,'' American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a statement reported on by Progressive Farm.
"We are deeply concerned that the EPA plans to reverse the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which puts the future of responsible protections at risk. We expected extensive outreach, but today's announcement fails to recognize the concerns of farmers and ranchers.''
Regan announced Wednesday that his agency would repeal the Trump-era Navigable Waters Protection Rule, citing ''environmental degradation.''
''After reviewing the Navigable Waters Protection Rule as directed by President Biden, the EPA and Department of the Army have determined that this rule is leading to significant environmental degradation,'' Regan said in a statement, pointing to data that found at least 333 projects that would have required Clean Water Act dredge-and-fill permits that no longer need federal approval.
Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., in a statement Wednesday said he's hopeful the EPA will listen to the concerns of farmers and ranchers.
"The waters of the United States rule (2015) would have been a disaster for North Dakota's farmers and ranchers," Armstrong said. "The Trump administration was right to revise the [Waters of the United States] rule and put forward a policy that strikes a balance to keep our waters clean without destroying thousands of North Dakotans' livelihoods. I am grateful to Administrator Regan for coming to North Dakota and listening to our concerns on this rule, and I urge the Biden administration to consider the harm to our communities that going back to failed one-size-fits-all policies would cause.''
The EPA said the new rule would reflect the ''experience of and input received from landowners, the agricultural community that fuels and feeds the world, states, tribes, local governments, community organizations, environmental groups, and disadvantaged communities with environmental justice concerns.''
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