Letter encourages the preservation of the states’ role in protecting water resources.
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge joined a 25-state coalition in filing comments with the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in support of language to permanently rescind the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
The comment letter from Rutledge is part of the EPA’s ongoing review of the WOTUS rule as directed by President Donald Trump. The letter encourages the preservation of the states’ role in protecting water resources by fully eliminating the Obama-era rule and enforcing the pre-existing definition of WOTUS until more concise, lawful language can be adopted.
“The WOTUS rule was never about protecting our water in a responsible way,” the Attorney General said. “Instead it was about forcing an overreaching political agenda on our farmers and ranchers – who are the first conservationists – and forcing them to cede large portions of land to the federal government. I encourage the EPA to move forward with the full repeal of this rule.”
Rutledge was part of a coalition that helped secure a nationwide injunction in August 2015, blocking enforcement of the rule, which allowed the new administration to review the rule.
Rutledge testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in March 2015 urging the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the rule because of the negative impact it would have on Arkansas farmers. In 2012, agriculture added $20.1 billion to the Arkansas economy, according to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.
The rule was issued in June 2015 and allowed the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to assert federal authority over a vast number of small bodies of water, roadside ditches, short-lived streams and any other area where water may flow once every 100 years.
Rutledge signed the letter along with her the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.