LINCOLN, NEB. – A broad ranging Nebraska-based coalition representing interests from agriculture, business, and rural power, to homebuilders, golf course managers, and local government entities have registered support for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) newly proposed Clean Water Rule. Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson offered supportive testimony on behalf of the “Common Sense Nebraska” coalition during the agencies’ field hearing on the proposal, February 28 in Kansas City, Kansas.
“Our coalition partners want a rule that provides a framework for clean water protection, but also clearly identifies waters subject to federal jurisdiction. We believe the EPA and Corps have moved in the right direction with this new proposal on those fronts,” Nelson told agency officials.
The proposal would replace the agencies’ Obama era, 2015 “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule that drew fierce opposition from the Nebraska coalition.
“Our coalition partners are committed to protecting the land and water resources under our stewardship, however, the 2015 WOTUS rule was not about clean water, but instead about a massive expansion of federal authority over private lands and infringement upon individual property rights,” said Nelson.
In his testimony, Nelson highlighted several key points demonstrating the improvement the new rule makes over the previously proposed WOTUS rule. Included among those points were:
- The proposal respects the historical limits of the federal Clean Water Act by regulating the ‘navigable waters’ that have long been recognized as falling under federal authority.
- It provides a clear list of waters and land features which are exempt from federal regulation, including, ground water, ditches, and ephemeral drainage areas where water only runs during rainfall events. The WOTUS rule opened the door for federal regulation of all these features.
- The proposal respects the state of Nebraska’s rights to regulate state waters as originally intended by Congress.
“America’s farmers, ranchers, and other landowners shouldn’t need a team of attorneys and consultants to tell them what they can and can’t do with their property. This new proposal eliminates regulatory uncertainty brought by the 2015 WOTUS rule,” said Nelson.
Common Sense Nebraska Coalition members include:
- Association of General Contractors - NE Chapter
- Farm Credit Services of America
- Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association
- National Federation of Independent Businesses/Nebraska
- Nebraska Agribusiness Association
- Nebraska Association of County Officials
- Nebraska Association of Resource Districts
- Nebraska Bankers Association
- Nebraska Cattlemen
- Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Nebraska Club Management Association
- Nebraska Cooperative Council
- Nebraska Corn Board
- Nebraska Corn Growers Association
- Nebraska Farm Bureau
- Nebraska Golf Course Superintendents Association
- Nebraska Grain and Feed Association
- Nebraska Grain Sorghum Association
- Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board
- Nebraska Pork Producers Association
- Nebraska Poultry Industries
- Nebraska Rural Electric Association
- Nebraska Soybean Association
- Nebraska State Dairy Association
- Nebraska State Home Builders Association
- Nebraska State Irrigation Association
- Nebraska Water Resources Association
- Nebraska Wheat Board
- Nebraska Wheat Growers Association
- Nemaha Natural Resources District
- Pawnee County Rural Water District #1