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June 28, 2017 - 1:41pm

Collins applauds EPA rollback of water rules

posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, agriculture, business.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins and local Farm Bureau presidents applauded the Trump Administration’s decision to either rescind or revise the Waters of The United States (WOTUS) rule imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Obama administration.

“This rule was an example of reckless government overreach, that brought undue burdens to farmers in Western New York,” Collins said. “I was proud to lead the bipartisan effort in Congress to scrap the WOTUS rule and applaud President Trump and Administrator Pruitt for taking this common sense step to support our nation’s agriculture industry.”

Both Congressman Collins and Farm Bureaus located within New York’s 27th Congressional District have been vocal in their opposition to the WOTUS rule. In May 2014, Congressman Collins led a bipartisan letter signed by more than 200 members of Congress to former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Department of the Army Secretary John McHugh outlining concerns related to this rule. Congressman Collins believed the WOTUS rule was “built on incomplete scientific study and a flawed economic analysis” and formally requested the rule be returned to their respective agencies.

“Farmers are simply trying to provide for their family, community, and the nation, so it is unfortunate the federal government imposed this type of rule in the first place,” said Jeffrey Simons, president of the Erie County Farm Bureau. “Plain and simple, more federal regulations will make it harder for farmers to do their job. Today’s decision is a tremendous victory for Niagara County farmers, and I want to thank Congressman Collins for fighting on our behalf since the beginning.”

“The WOTUS rule was an overreach since it was first proposed and we’ve seen the negative impact it has had and would continue to have on our local agriculture industry,” said Christian Yunker, president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau. “In the end, common sense prevailed and everyone’s hard work has paid off. I appreciate all of Congressman Collins efforts—this is fantastic news for all of agriculture, not just here in Genesee County.”

“Today’s announcement is great news for Ontario County agriculture and will help to protect the future of our region’s family farms,” said Lisa Grefrath, president of the Ontario County Farm Bureau. “We commend Congressman Collins for his efforts to repeal this burdensome mandate and look forward to continuing to work with him on the issues impacting local family farms.”

“For the last three years, we have worked with Congressman Collins to end this unfair federal overreach and protect local farms. Today’s announcement is exciting news for local farm families,” said Joe Swyers, president of the Livingston County Farm Bureau. “We will continue to work with Rep. Collins regarding protecting the future of family farms in Livingston County and appreciate his efforts to end WOTUS. No one cares about more about our environment than local farmers that make their living on our land and we will continue to be the best stewards possible.”

“Today’s announcement is a win for New York’s agricultural community. Wyoming County is a top agricultural producer in New York State and the repeal of WOTUS will help ensure the future of farming in Western New York,” said Jeremy Northup, president of the Wyoming County Farm Bureau. “We commend Congressman Collins for his aggressive efforts to repeal WOTUS and will continue to work with him on the issues important to Wyoming County family farms.”

“When the WOTUS rule was first proposed, we knew this was a blatant overreach by the EPA,” said Jim Bittner, president of the Niagara County Farm Bureau. “This rule would have had negative effects on practically every piece of farmland here in Niagara County. Congressman Collins understood this from the beginning, because requiring farmers to get either the EPA or Army Corps’ approval before farming would have been a nightmare. We’re very glad to hear this rule will be rescinded."

C. M. Barons
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Just curious... What brand of moron brags about rescinding water purity regulations?

Dean Norton
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The WOTUS rule was never about clean water!! it was a direct assault on private property rights and controlling what farmers, municipalities and homeowners could do with their land. As the past President of the New York Farm Bureau I have meet with the experts at EPA and the Army Corps and this rule was not about "water purity" it was about control! It is easy to cast dispersions and name call these days but before you do you may want to know what you are discussing. Plus the rule was stayed by the 6th circuit pending the outcome of legal action against the rule. That speaks volume about the legitimacy of this rule. fi you want to see what this rule was meant to do look up John Duarte a farmer in California to see how this rule would affect us all. Thank you Congressman Collins this was a long journey but a well earned outcome.

Ed Hartgrove
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C.M.
I don't think anyone is bragging about rescinding water purity regulations. Water purity isn't the only aspect of the EPA's regulations.

These people: Jeffrey Simons (President of the Erie County Farm Bureau), Christian Yunker (President of the Genesee County Farm Bureau), Joe Swyers (President of the Livingston County Farm Bureau), and Jeremy Northup (President of the Wyoming County Farm Bureau, basically agreed with Jim Bittner (President of the Niagara County Farm Bureau) when he said, “When the WOTUS rule was first proposed, we knew this was a blatant overreach by the EPA. This rule would have had negative effects on practically every piece of farmland here in Niagara County. Congressman Collins understood this from the beginning, because requiring farmers to get either the EPA or Army Corps’ approval before farming would have been a nightmare."

James Burns
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I read the Waters of the United States rules and they are intended to put the same rules into effect for all water that the Clean Waters act of 1972 put into effect for navigable waterways. The rational being that small streams flow into big ones and the cumulative pollution was a problem. The CWA left loopholes for industry to dump/pollute into smaller streams. WOTUS tried to close those loopholes.

These rule are written by a government committee, arguably the worst kinds of committee ;) While not perfect the intent was to make our waters cleaner. We only need to look to the local waters of Western NY to see this is still an ongoing issue. I think any politician that thinks dumping the WOTUS rules like so much PCB into a stream and not modifying them is just plain ignorant.

Isn't the proper solution to modify the rules or create a new set that correct some of issues with the current ones? When there were no environmental laws cooperations and agriculture both contributed greatly to water pollution. These rules tried to strike a balance between industry and the environment.

The best way to keep the water clean is not to allow any industry to use the water or dump in it. This is not realistic and not the intent of the rules.

Environmental rules are needed. The rules should be modified to adapt to agriculture, industry and the environment. Since all are dynamic, the rules should be too.

Timothy Hens
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No one is saying we shouldn't have clean water. I think we all want that.

The WOTUS rule was a vast overreach of federal power that violated the constitution. The rules have been shot down twice by the Supreme Court in previous cases and the EPA tried to bend them to find away around the Court's decision. The federal government simply does not have jurisdiction over non-navigable waterways (i.e. the ditch in front of my house)--this fact is based on the "Commerce Clause" in the Constitution and by many previous Acts of Congress including the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and the Clean Water Act of 1972.

The EPA tried to reassert their position in the rules that were just rescinded. By the EPA's most recent definition, everything that drained to a navigable waterway was under their jurisdiction by "adjacency" and "significant nexus". Meaning that even waters that were technically separate could be considered "together" if there was enough evidence to prove they impacted each other. Only a very few non-draining uplands were considered outside of their control and permits.

Living in the Great Lakes basin--ALL of our land would have been subject to permitting. You would have needed a Corps of Engineers permit to install a new driveway for your house. Not some simple permit you could pick up at a library, but a permit that requires engineering studies and several months worth of paperwork. Permits that incite other intrusions from agencies like US Fish & Wildlife that will limit when you can cut trees down to avoid harming the Northern Long-Earred Bat (even though they are not known to roost in this area); and when you need a mussel study to determine if mussels live in your now jurisdictional waterways. By the way, Mussels mate from May-July so don't plan on doing any work during the summer.

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