On Friday morning, Minnesota Congressman Pete Stauber released a statement in support of the Trump administration having announced the repeal of an Obama-era clean water regulation, known as the Waters of the United States rule, which had placed limits on potentially polluting chemicals that could be used in various bodies of water.
“The repeal of WOTUS is one of the most important issues facing my constituents,” said Stauber, a Republican who represents the Eighth Congressional District in northeastern Minnesota. “Therefore, I thank President Trump and [EPA] Administrator [Andrew R.] Wheeler for issuing this final draft rule, marking the beginning of the end for a burdensome power grab affecting Minnesotans across all industries.”
Expected to take effect in the upcoming weeks, the repeal will redefine the “waters of the United States” and immediately allow people to discharge potentially harmful substances such as chemical pesticides and fertilizers into streams and wetlands without obtaining EPA permits in the first place.
Agriculture and mining groups in the state have praised the repeal.
Earlier this week, Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap said in a statement that the rule “was unreasonable and unworkable and ultimately made conservation more difficult for farmers and ranchers.” He continued, “We are glad to see the old rule repealed so that a new rule can be written that provides clarity and common sense.”
On Friday, Minnesota Miners — a pro-mining group with more than 2,000 Twitter followers including Stauber, several Range-based legislators and mining companies such as PolyMet — posted their approval via social media. “.@POTUS Great to see that WOTUS has been done away with and responsible Clean Water regulations have replaced it. Now we need to do the same with the current mine permitting process. @forestservice @BLMNational @EPA need to sit down and reduce the red tape. @MinnesotaMiners.
The Obama administration issued the WOTUS rule in 2015 to expand protections under the 1972 Clean Water Act to include smaller streams and wetlands. While environmental groups identified the former administration designed the rule to prevent pollution in 60 percent of the bodies of water across the U.S., Stauber in his recent statement framed the creation of the regulation as a way for the administration to “assert Clean Water Act jurisdiction” and “expand agency control over 60% of our country’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands that were previously non-jurisdictional.”
Stauber is now applauding the Trump administration’s repeal of the “harmful” WOTUS rule. “I know farmers, manufacturers, and homeowners in my district look forward to the completion of this rule and the removal of onerous red tape that has negatively affected their daily lives for too long.”