In this file:


·         AFBF: Changes to Clean Water Rule Will Hurt Family Farms

·         Farmers’ voices heard on WOTUS rewrite



Changes to Clean Water Rule Will Hurt Family Farms


Source: American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF)

Jan 5, 2022


Member farmers from the American Farm Bureau Federation will participate in a roundtable on Thursday, Jan. 6, about the impact of the proposal to repeal and replace the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR). The event is hosted by the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy. Arizona Farm Bureau President Stefanie Smallhouse and Colorado Farm Bureau Vice President James Henderson will join several other farmers attending the roundtable to explain why this rule is so consequential for agriculture.


The Biden administration recently proposed a “step 1” Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule. Despite claims to the opposite from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers, a new WOTUS rule will have a large impact on small businesses and family farms. The significant nexus test, particularly, will greatly expand federal jurisdiction onto private lands and make it difficult for farmers and ranchers to decipher where their property is impacted.


“Farmers are dedicated to protecting the resources they’re entrusted with while raising the food our country relies on,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “We support responsible rules that protect the environment, but we shouldn’t need a team of lawyers to interpret those rules just to farm our land. The NWPR brought clarity to water regulations, yet farmers and ranchers are again caught in the middle of changing regulations. We urge EPA to return to commonsense protections for the nation’s waterways. Our goal is simple – clean water and clear rules.”


Arizona Farm Bureau President Stefanie Smallhouse said, “There are three basic elements everyone in agriculture needs to feed and clothe our nation: healthy soils, ample sunshine and clean water. We take the stewardship of our land and water very seriously. The rules that enforce the Clean Water Act must be clear, concise and honor the law’s intent. Congress charged the federal government with protecting interstate navigable waters and the states to protect all others. The resources and landscapes across this country are incredibly diverse and it’s imperative that the states maintain their role in working at the ground level with farmers and ranchers to ensure clean water.”


Colorado Farm Bureau Vice President James Henderson said, “EPA’s proposal would again extend federal rules to the driest parts of the West. The rules would force ranchers like me to hire lawyers to seek approval for everyday tasks in areas where water runs only a handful of times every decade.”


AFBF applauds SBA for scheduling roundtables to hear from families who will be directly affected by a change in water regulations. The SBA virtual roundtable examining impacts on agriculture takes place on Jan. 6 beginning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. RSVP for the roundtable by clicking here.



Mike Tomko

Director, Communications

(202) 406-3642

[email protected]


Bailey Corwine

Media Relations Specialist

(202) 406-3643

[email protected]


source url



Farmers’ voices heard on WOTUS rewrite

Roundtable discussion features insight on the agricultural impact of the update to the Clean Water Act.


Jacqui Fatka, National Hog Farmer

Jan 06, 2022


In the latest pendulum swing of water regulations, the Biden administration is undergoing actions to repeal and replace the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule finalized under the Trump administration. Farmers’ voices on the impact of any new rule were elevated in a roundtable discussion on Jan. 6 with key government officials in an event hosted by the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy.


The latest regulation, proposed in November by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, would repeal the 2020 NWPR, re-establish the definition of WOTUS to what was in place from 1986 to 2015, and broaden the federal government's authority under the Clean Water Act.


Sylvia Quast, senior advisor to the assistant administrator of water quality at EPA, says the decision to return to the 1980s interpretation of what is defined as “waters of the U.S.” while also including considerations from 2001 and 2006 Supreme Court rulings was done to “avoid the ping ponging” for those who are dealing with the application of rules, and also for the regulators who are implementing the rules.


Quast says EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers proposed to return to the rules prior to that in 2015 when the Obama administration attempted to clarify what constitutes a water that was later challenged in the courts. Stefanie Smallhouse, Arizona Farm Bureau President, shares that the 2015 rule was overwhelmingly opposed by those in the agricultural community because it further expanded the Corps’ federal footprint of jurisdiction and created a “complex matrix of qualifiers while weakening the farming and ranching exemptions.”


Smallhouse, as well as other agricultural stakeholders who shared their thoughts, identified the confusion returns with understanding what represents a “significant nexus” and is a concern that needs to be addressed in the current rulemaking efforts ongoing now. The Supreme Court dissertations included the significant nexus as a qualifier to what should be included in federal jurisdiction, but the Obama administration’s interpretation greatly expanded its definition of water connections to regulated bodies of water.


The case-by-case test allows the agencies to regulate ditches, ephemeral features, or low spots on farmland and pastureland that “have a more than speculative or insubstantial” impact to a navigable water. The test also allows the agencies to aggregate waters that are “similar situated,” enabling them to expand their reach, capture entire watersheds and make moving dirt, plowing or building fences subject to regulations...


Amended prior converted cropland exclusion ...


more, including links