The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday they will propose to rescind a controversial federal clean water rule from 2015 that redefined the “waters of the U.S.”The 2015 rule brought isolated bodies of water under the oversight of the EPA and Army Corps, ostensibly requiring landowners to secure federal permits or else face substantial fines and criminal charges.
In June 2015, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson joined with attorneys general from 12 other states in a lawsuit against the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, protesting the expansive rule.
“It is the individual State's primary responsibility to regulate land and water resources and Nebraska has a history of environmentally protecting its lands," Peterson said. "Today’s action pushes back on federal authority over private lands.”
"Today’s action by the EPA provides for farmers, ranchers, and landowners in Nebraska to be able to operate with greater understanding, unburdened by unnecessary regulation and obstacles,” Peterson said.
The expanded waters of the U.S. definition "was one of the most flagrant abuses of regulatory power in modern history and threatened the future of agriculture,” Rep. Adrian Smith said.
Sen. Ben Sasse said the 2015 rule was "a nightmare dreamed up by Washington’s bureaucrats."
"This is a major victory for farmers and ranchers across Nebraska — the very people who know and care the most about our water," Sasse said.