Washington, D.C. (February 28, 2017)–The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) welcomed President Trump’s executive action today moving in a new direction on defining “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Executive Order issued today will start a review and revision process to replace the WOTUS rule. That rule was issued in 2015 and then promptly became the subject of numerous lawsuits.
“In issuing the WOTUS rule in 2015, the Obama Administration greatly expanded federal jurisdiction over lands that Congress never intended to be regulated by the Clean Water Act. President Trump’s action today corrects that overreach and sets the stage for a more deliberate and reasonable approach in defining what is a WOTUS,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC. “A new approach can ensure that Americans can enjoy clean water while limiting the rule’s impact on upland areas and isolated waters.”
The 2015 WOTUS rule raised numerous concerns for states, local governments, landowners, and the regulated community, leading to legal challenges by over thirty states, numerous industry groups and environmentalist groups on both procedural and substantive grounds. The District Court of North Dakota and the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the rule because they believe that the rule is flawed and that the challengers of the rule would “likely succeed on the merits” of the case.
“Farmer cooperatives look forward to working with the Administration to develop a new rule that fully protects water quality while keeping CWA implementation within the bounds of congressional intent and Supreme Court precedent,” Conner added. “We fully endorse the goal of the CWA to keep pollutants out of our nation’s waters, and look forward to a rulemaking that supports our longstanding and ongoing efforts to achieve that goal.”
Since 1929, NCFC has been the voice of America’s farmer cooperatives. Our members are regional and national farmer cooperatives, which are in turn composed of over 2,000 local farmer cooperatives across the country. NCFC members also include 21 state and regional councils of cooperatives. Farmer cooperatives allow individual farmers the ability to own and lead organizations that are essential for continued competitiveness in both the domestic and international markets.
America’s farmer-owned cooperatives provide a comprehensive array of services for their members. These diverse organizations handle, process and market virtually every type of agricultural commodity. They also provide farmers with access to infrastructure necessary to manufacture, distribute and sell a variety of farm inputs. Additionally, they provide credit and related financial services, including export financing.