Federal Spotlight: EPA Receives Comments on WOTUS from Gov. Reynolds, Secretary Naig

April 18, 2019

Gov. Reynolds and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, along with state agency directors, provided comments to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the proposed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule. This letter acknowledges the EPA’s revisions but requests several changes. They specifically stated the new definition provides more coherence, but they are seeking “revision and clarification” on eight different subsections.

They are asking the EPA to further define a “typical year.” They are also asking for clarification on the following topics: exclusion of “artificial lakes and ponds in upland,” the exclusion of stormwater control in an upland, the status of intermittent streams in the new proposed definitions, the exclusion of ditches, and prior converted cropland. They are also requesting further action on the exclusion of water-filled depressions–expanding it to include mining pits. Finally, they wish to expand on the idea of establishing “geospatial datasets of waters of the United States.”

Gov. Reynolds praised the EPA’s action, stating, “The new WOTUS rule provides much-needed stability for our farmers, whose livelihoods depend upon their ability to work the land.” Secretary Naig asserted, “Farmers, businesses and communities need to clearly understand what bodies of water are and are not covered under the WOTUS rule." Acting DIrector Trautmann declared, “DNR is responsible for implementing many programs under the Clean Water Act. We hope the EPA’s response to these comments and suggestions will clear up some uncertain areas of the proposal.”

ABI has been following this proposal since the first rule was drafted during the Obama administration. The association has been active participants in meetings on both the initial proposal and the revised rule to raise concerns about the impact the rule could have on Iowa businesses. We are grateful for the leadership on this issue by Gov. Reynolds and Secretary Naig. You can contact Drew Wynes for more information.