Iowa Public Radio: Iowa Senator Applauds New Water Rule

By: Amy Mayer; December 13, 2018

Iowa’s junior senator is celebrating the release of a new rule defining what is considered a “water of the U.S.” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act.

The WOTUS rule dates to the Obama administration and has been held up in court because some people felt it would put too much land under federal oversight.

“Iowa’s farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and small businesses can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing that going forward a tire track that collects rain water won’t be regulated by the federal government,” Republican Joni Ernst told reporters on a conference call. She says the EPA has revised the rule to reduce federal oversight.

“We certainly want clean water, we want clean soil and clean air,” Ernst said, “but this is something we feel that our states can handle on their own.”

But Neil Hamilton, director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center, says that was also true under the original rule.

“That’s the type of just hyperbolic overstatements that the Farm Bureau and others made against the rule for years and years,” Hamilton said, adding that the new rule still will require a decision about whether certain waterways fall under federal purview.