The North Dakota Stockmen's Association was grateful for the opportunity to articulate concerns that the state's ranchers and farmers have about the Waters of the United States rule to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt in a face-to-face meeting organized by Governor Doug Burgum in Fargo yesterday.
 
The NDSA was encouraged by the administrator's willingness to sit down with stakeholders and work together to roll back the onerous rule and achieve a common-sense solution. Pruitt said he was committed to providing the clarity that agriculturists seek and a mechanism for states to address their unique features. “EPA is no longer in the business of advancing unnecessary and burdensome regulations that harm the agriculture industry and do little to help keep water clean," he said.
 
EPA is accepting comments on its proposal to withdraw the 2015 WOTUS rule. The deadline for comments is Aug. 28. Here’s how you can elevate cattle ranchers’ voice on this issue:
 
Step 1 - Go to: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0203-0001
 
Step 2- Copy and paste (or modify) the following sample comments:
 
I am writing to support the proposal to repeal the 2015 "Waters of the U.S." rule.
 
As a cattle producer, I strongly support this effort. Water is important to me and my family farming operation. I am glad that you recognize the flaws of the current WOTUS rule. It is overly broad and creates heavy burdens and costs, legal risk and tremendous uncertainty for farmers, ranchers and others, like me, who depend on the land. Under the 2015 rule, farmers, ranchers and other landowners across the country face new roadblocks to ordinary land-use activities.
 
I applaud EPA for taking this important first step toward developing a new definition of waters of the United States that will protect water quality while also promoting economic growth, minimizing regulatory uncertainty, and respecting the proper roles of Congress and the states under the Constitution.
 
The WOTUS rule has never been implemented because it was stayed by both a federal district court and a federal court of appeals due to its flaws and violations. Challengers raised numerous substantive and procedural defects in the rule, including that the rule exceeds EPA's statutory authority, imposes burdensome regulatory uncertainty, was finalized in violation of mandatory procedural requirements designed to ensure a well-informed result, and is otherwise unlawful. In all, the rule was challenged in multiple courts by all sides (31 states and 53 non-state parties, including environmental groups, state and local governments, farmers, landowners, developers, businesses, and recreation groups).
 
The EPA should move forward and ditch this rule once and for all, then go back to the drawing board and write a new rule that protects water quality without trampling the rights of landowners, businesses, and the states.
 
Sincerely,
 
[Add your name here.]
 
North Dakota Stockmen's Association * 407 S. 2nd St. * Bismarck, ND 58504 * 701-223-2522 * ndsa@ndstockmen.org