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AG Derek Schmidt on EPA’s withdrawal of WOTUS Rule: ‘Do it right’

Release Date: Sep 28, 2017

TOPEKA – (September 28, 2017) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt yesterday filed comments in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to withdraw the Obama-era “Waters of the U.S.” Rule, which has been blocked by federal court orders since October 2015.

Schmidt, along with the attorneys general of 24 other states, submitted the comment letter in support of EPA’s proposal to rescind the 2015 definition of “waters of the United States” (the WOTUS Rule) and to maintain the current regulatory system rather than imposing a new one.

“It’s important that EPA does this the right way,” Schmidt said, noting that even technical errors by EPA in rescinding WOTUS could spur continued or future litigation.

Kansas is one of the states that filed the lawsuit that blocked the WOTUS Rule from taking effect nationwide.

“Our legal challenge prevented WOTUS from taking effect during the Obama administration, and we intend to remain vigilant and engaged until the new administration successfully completes this overreaching regulation’s withdrawal,” Schmidt said. “Withdrawal of the WOTUS Rule is a positive step in returning authority to the states as provided in the Clean Water Act and will provide regulatory certainty to Kansas farmers and businesses.”

Last December, Schmidt and a bipartisan group of 24 state attorneys general and two other state officials had urged the incoming Trump administration to rescind the WOTUS Rule. This week’s filing focuses on the details of how the administration proposes to do so.

The WOTUS Rule, if it had taken effect, would have extended the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ regulatory reach into small waterways, ditches and ponds on Kansas farms, ranches and land developments. The rule would have had significant consequences for homeowners, farmers and other entities by forcing them to navigate a complex federal bureaucracy and obtain costly permits in order to perform everyday tasks such as digging ditches, building fences or applying fertilizers.

A copy of the attorneys general’s comment letter is available at http://bit.ly/2yJOFLf.

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