Washington, DC — Iowa Senator Joni Ernst has collected the signatures of 46 other senators on a resolution that would nullify an Environmental Protection Agency rule that’s unpopular in farm country. The “Waters of the U.S.” rule — sometimes known by its acronym, WOTUS — outlines six types of waterways that the E-P-A and the Army Corps of Engineers say are subject to federal Clean Water Act regulation.
Other proposals attached to budget bills would block federal funding for implementing the rule. There’s a bill that essentially tells E-P-A officials to rewrite the rule and address some specific concerns. Now, the Ernst resolution seeks to get rid of the rule altogether.
All three of those proposals face a presidential veto. The Iowa Farm Bureau has suggested 97 percent of the land mass in Iowa now could face Clean Water Act regulation because of the rule, which went into effect in late August. Ernst calls the rule ill-conceived.
Iowa’s other U.S. Senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, is a co-sponsor of the Ernst resolution. Officials in the Environmental Protection Agency say their rule “is fundamental to protecting and restoring the nation’s water resources.” The 1972 Clean Water Act gave the federal government jurisdiction over “navigable” waters, but a series of court cases over the past few decades have caused confusion over what “navigable” means. The agency’s new rule is an attempt to clarify its authority, but critics like Ernst say the E-P-A has gone so far as to seek jurisdiction over the gullies in corn fields.
Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau president says the new WOTUS rule will have “an extremely dampening effect on our ability to produce food, fiber and fuel in this country.”
Story From Radio Iowa