Summary

Farmers want clear rules for their farms and clean water for their families and neighbors. The federal government has no jurisdiction over dry land and ditches, and the law should reflect this. Standard farming practices should not require a federal permit.

Background

In 2013, under President Obama, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed to redefine “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) much more broadly than under prior law. Launched in 2014, Farm Bureau’s “Ditch the Rule” campaign generated nearly 7,500 postcard comments in opposition from Missouri alone and inspired MOFB’s YouTube hit video “That’s Enough” that generated more than 130,000 views.

In 2017 President Trump issued an executive order directing EPA and the Corps to review WOTUS. With WOTUS on hold pending ongoing regulatory and legal action, the EPA and the Corps proposed a revised definition of WOTUS for public comment in February 2019.

Status

In September 2019, the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced the formal repeal of the Obama Administration’s WOTUS Rule. Ultimately EPA and USACE plan to release a revised definition of WOTUS, referred to as the “Clean Water Rule.” MOFB submitted comments on this new proposed rule, and MOFB members sent several hundred “Clean Water, Clear Rules” postcards and messages in support of the rule.

MOFB President Blake Hurst issued the following statement supporting the repeal:

“Repealing the WOTUS (Waters of the U.S.) rule puts an end once and for all to one of the worst ideas to ever come out of Washington, DC.  President Trump has made good on his promise to fix this problem.  Anyone whose livelihood is working the land simply could not comply no matter what they did.  WOTUS had to go and we appreciate the efforts of this Administration and members of the Missouri Congressional delegation to make it happen.”

The multi-year effort to reverse this unconstitutional power grab was heavily influenced by the work of Missouri Farm Bureau and its members. Years of court battles are likely to follow, but MOFB will continue to fight for clean water and clear rules.