Here’s something I thought I’d never have to say: Obama’s WOTUS is back. It seems like a bad nightmare, but it’s true.
The Obama EPA’s Waters of the United States rule, better known as WOTUS, was one of the worst examples of federal overreach we’ve seen in a generation. That rule would have dramatically expanded what constitutes a “water of the United States” and given the EPA authority to regulate more than 99 percent of Missouri farmland. You read that right, they were going to change the definition of water to give themselves more power to regulate land. That’s crazy.
We replaced President Obama’s rule in 2019 with the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which fairly balanced the needs to protect our waterways with the rights of landowners, farmers, and ranchers to manage their own land. Simply put, it gave the EPA the power to reasonably regulate waterways but didn’t give them the power to regulate land as “waters of the United States.” It was a common-sense rule.
Now, the Biden EPA sure looks like it wants to undo all of that. They say they don’t want to go back to the old WOTUS rule, but if you listen closely, their talk sounds a whole lot like what the Obama EPA was saying right before they dropped the WOTUS bombshell on us. In other words, they want to give the old rule a new name and the same goal—to give the EPA the power to regulate farmland.
It’s little more than a land grab, giving government bureaucrats control over family farms that have been managed responsibly for generations. That isn’t just wrong, it’s a boneheaded idea. After all, I know American farmers can better manage their land than a bunch of bureaucrats working in nondescript office buildings in Washington.
I want to send a clear message to the President and his administration: any attempt to revive the Obama WOTUS rule will be met with serious opposition in Congress and from farmers and ranchers across America. This is a direct assault on family farms and we won’t just sit down, shut up, and let this happen—just like we aren’t going to sit quietly as this Administration tries to supercharge the death tax and ram discriminatory relief programs down our throats.
These attacks on the very people that work endless hours to feed this nation are unacceptable. Farmers are tough, it’s in our blood. We can take a licking and keep on ticking, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to back down from a fight. We already “ditched the rule” once—and we’ll do it again.