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Schimel Praises EPA's Repeal of WOTUS Rule
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 06/28/2017

Nearly one year to the day after Wisconsin joined eight other states in filing a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over their efforts to enact the 'Waters of the United States' bill, State Attorney General Brad Schimel was notified on Tuesday that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt withdrew the Obama-era policy. Last week, Schimel and West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey sent a letter to the federal agency asking them to preserve the role of the states in protecting the nation's water sources.

"We fully support the proposed rule signed by [EPA Administrator] Pruitt as a significant step in the direction of withdrawing the unlawful WOTUS rule," Schimel said. "The WOTUS rule asserts sweeping federal authority over usually dry channels, roadside ditches, and isolated streams. The rule also asserts federal authority over land covered by water only once every one hundred years."

As of mid-June, there were 20 states across the nation protesting the WOTUS rule in court because they claim it unlawfully expands the federal government's regulatory reach over local streams, lands and farms.

Schimel said the rule could have dire consequences for homeowners, farmers and other entities by forcing them to navigate a complex federal bureaucracy and obtain costly permits in order to perform everyday tasks like digging ditches, building fences or spraying fertilizers.

"Wisconsin already has strong clean water regulations and these proposed duplicative regulations will serve only to harm farmers and landowners by substantially increasing costs and delaying permits," Schimel said in a previous statement. "This overreaching move is yet another example of the EPA exceeding its constitutional authority to the detriment of our state."

Last winter, member of Congress passed a bill that would undo the WOTUS regulations, but former President Obama vetoed the measure shortly before leaving office.

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