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AUSTIN – Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller joins agriculture groups from across the nation in celebrating the withdrawal of an interpretive rule within the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The rule outlined minimal exemptions for farmers and ranchers to escape the burdensome Clean Water Act permitting process.
“The withdrawal of this ridiculous rule is tremendous news for Texas farmers and ranchers,” Commissioner Miller said. “However, our fight is not over. We must continue working to stop EPA from trying to enact other rules that would unnecessarily regulate certain waters located on our farms and ranches. This type of overreach would result in a total erosion of states’ rights under the 10th Amendment. It will cripple our economy, damage the free enterprise system and cause undue hardship to our farmers, ranchers and private landowners.”
EPA withdrew the interpretive rule on Jan. 29, citing a requirement by Congress included in last year’s appropriations bill. The interpretive rule was supposed to clarify what normal farming and ranching activities were exempt from the Clean Water Act. However, many in the agriculture community felt the rule made things more unclear.
A number of Texas and national ag organizations, including the Texas Department of Agriculture, have been calling for the withdrawal of the interpretive rule in formal comments to EPA. Commissioner Miller is calling for significant changes to WOTUS itself, and he will continue to monitor the rulemaking process.
“Texans understand that clean water is important,” Commissioner Miller said. “Farmers and ranchers are the original environmentalists, conservationists and stewards of the land. They know how to protect the land far better than some bureaucrat in Washington.”
A final rule is expected this spring.