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Greg Walden: The EPA’s new definition of WOTUS will both protect our environment and our rural communities

Greg Walden: The EPA’s new definition of WOTUS will both protect our environment and our rural communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) released a statement applauding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for providing a new definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS).

Since the Obama Administration’s 2015 WOTUS ruling, Walden has heard concerns from rural Oregonians that the rule was burdensome and would harm their work. The Obama-era ruling significantly expanded the EPA’s jurisdiction over land-use decisions. The previous WOTUS definition enabled the EPA to potentially regulate bodies of water like drain ditches on farmland, which resulted in farmers and ranchers facing uncertainty as to who might face litigation or onerous permit requirements.

“For years, farmers and ranchers across Oregon have expressed their concerns to me about the heavy-handed Obama-era definition of WOTUS,” said Walden. “They stressed that their intermittent stream or irrigation ditch would be subject to the burden of overreaching federal regulation. The EPA’s new definition of WOTUS will both protect our environment and our rural communities. Today’s announcement is welcome news for rural Oregon. I applaud President Trump and his administration for listening to the concerns of America’s farmers and ranchers and delivering on the promise to revise WOTUS.” 

Walden was one of the first critics of the 2015 Obama-era ruling and has since pressed Congress to revise it. When the Trump administration first announced their decision to revise WOTUS, Walden shared his strong approval. 

The Trump Administration’s new definition of WOTUS will improve the well-being of rural Americans and allow America’s farmers and ranchers to focus on their jobs, rather than on finding lawyers to fight federal overreach.

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