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Politicians, NDFB Attend Waters of the U.S. Listening Session
North Dakota Ag Connection - 11/23/2021

North Dakota Farm Bureau, along with American Farm Bureau Federation's Vice President Scott VanderWal and politicians from around the state, attended Senator Kevin Cramer's Waters of the U.S. Stakeholder Listening Session with EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox on Monday.

"Wholesale changes intended to reimplement the overreach contained in the 2015 WOTUS will be devastating to not only agriculture but also other small businesses and growing communities," said NDFB President Daryl Lies. "The constant attack on states' rights is, at the very least, concerning and more possibly a violation of constitutional rights and separations."

Leaders from every aspect of agriculture and energy along with builders, contractors, municipalities, counties and states worked hard on the WOTUS rewrite which provided more faith in how it operates and also restored state's rights.

"This is all about freedom and private property rights, both of which this country was built on," said VanderWal. "The states are best positioned to deal with their water issues and take care of natural resources."

VanderWal said farmers and landowners need clarity which the Navigable Waters Protection Rule does.

Joining Senator Cramer and Administrator Fox was Senator John Hoeven, Lt. Governor Brent Sanford, North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, and Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jaime Pinkham.

"We appreciate Senator Cramer providing EPA Assistant Administrator Fox with this opportunity to hear firsthand from North Dakotans," said Hoeven. "We worked hard to provide certainty under the NWPR, which protected private property rights and helped alleviate the burdens placed on our farmers, energy producers, and other businesses. The Biden administration's proposed rule to repeal the NWPR takes us in the wrong direction, creating uncertainty by returning to the unworkable Obama-era WOTUS, or worse. North Dakota is a leader in protecting our water resources while supporting economic growth, and that's why the EPA should collaborate with states like ours on a commonsense, state-led approach to regulation that respects private property rights."

"The Trump administration's Navigable Waters Protection Rule provided common sense and clarity for farmers, landowners and state agencies on which waters aren't subject to federal control, including most farm and roadside ditches and features that only hold water when it rains," Sanford said. "We urge the current administration and EPA to reject the Obama-era WOTUS rule, which will create uncertainty about jurisdiction and place unnecessary, burdensome and costly regulations on North Dakota farmers, ranchers and industry at a time of rising inflation and food prices. Any proposed changes to federal water rules should work with, not against, our state regulations that already protect both surface water and groundwater, because no one cares more about North Dakota's clean water than the people who live here."

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