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Georgia farmers & landowners get clarity on ‘Waters of the United States’ rules from EPA

Georgia farmers and landowners ook to get clarity of land use.

The Trump administration proposed to ease countless federal regulations within the EPA that impact the nation’s waterways and wetlands on Tuesday.

This campaign promise from President Donald Trump looks to substantially weaken landmark Obama-era water rules, according to an EPA release.

Georgia’s farmer’s and landowners look to gain some clarity from the new rules as it relates to waters and land management and to small bodies of water. This undoes a regulation in which President Trump called a “massive power grab” by the federal government.

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., praised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers on the signing of a revised “Waters of the United States” rule, which would provide much-needed clarity to Georgia farmers and landowners and prevent overreaching federal regulation of private and state waters under the rule previously implemented by the Obama administration.

“Today’s action by the Trump administration is a relief to Georgia’s farmers and our agriculture industry,” said Isakson. “This new commonsense definition will restore state and private property rights while preserving the appropriate role of the federal government in protecting waterways that cross state lines.”

Isakson has long argued that the previous administration’s overreaching rule allowed the federal government to regulate nearly all private and state waters in the United States, including thousands of streams, creeks, wetlands, ponds, and ditches.

Georgia’s Agricultural Commissioner also praised the new proposed rules:

“This is a great victory for our farming community over the very real threat of blatant federal overreach on private property,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black said. “The new rule will finally give our landowners a clear and precise definition regarding what is regulated and what is not, ending years of uncertainty and confusion on where the Clean Water Act applies—and where it does not.”

The proposal is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of “waters of the United States” consistent with President Trump’s February 2017 Executive Order stating that navigable waters are to be kept free from pollution, while at the same time promote economic growth, and minimize regulatory uncertainty.

Trump signed an order to require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency to review and reconsider the “Waters of the United States” rule.

However, environmental activists and advocates urge the proposed rule could remove pollution and land development protections from many U.S. waterways and pose far-reaching effects on the safety of the nation’s tap water for over 100 million Americans.

If finalized, the agency’s proposed rule would apply nationwide. WOTUS will be open to public comment for 60 days. Comments on the proposal should be identified with Docket ID No EPA-HQ-OW-2018-014 and may be submitted online at regulations.gov. For additional information, visit epa.gov/wotus-rule.

 

Jeremy Spencer grew up in rural South Georgia and has served as a healthcare provider, high school science teacher, school administrator, and state education official. Jeremy is currently the market and content manager for All on Georgia-Camden and Glynn Counties. Jeremy’s focus is local news, statewide education issues, and statewide political commentary for the All on Georgia News Network. Jeremy has served as an education policy analyst for local legislators and state education leaders as well as a campaign strategist for local and statewide political campaigns. Jeremy holds degrees in science and education from the University of Georgia, Piedmont College, and Valdosta State University. Jeremy has lived in Camden County for over 17 years.

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