EPA updates ag stakeholders on WOTUS rule

The ag advisor at the Environmental Protection Agency gave an update on the Waters of the United States rule at the Ag Outlook Forum on Monday.

The EPA’s amended Waters of the United States rule is now in effect across 23 states including Minnesota, Illinois,, and Michigan. Due to ongoing litigation, the 27 other states are still abiding by the pre-2015 WOTUS rule. Rod Snyder says it kept the ag provisions but changed, “only the parts of the 2023 definition that were invalidated by the Sackett decision.”

That includes removing a few tests used to determine whether a water is considered WOTUS.  Ag groups say they’re disappointed in how EPA amended the WOTUS rule without taking additional stakeholder feedback. Snyder explains why the agency took that route. “The faster that we could get a final rule, an amended final rule out, the quicker the Army Corps could get about its business so that farmers and landowners that might have pending decisions around wetlands or what have you could actually that worked on and work with the Army Corps to do that, so it was an expedited process. It was an unusual process.”

He says the agency is optimistic this new rule can provide more clarity for agriculture. “We all want a permanent solution because I think the ping-ponging back and forth and the shifting definition has not been good for anybody. Not for farmers and ranchers, and not good for the environment. We want to get to a steady state over time.”

Snyder says farmers and ranchers will be invited to attend stakeholder feedback sessions this fall.

Snyder spoke to Brownfield during the Ag Outlook Forum in Kansas City, Missouri Monday.

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