The Family Farm Alliance (Alliance) earlier today transmitted formal comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) on the proposed recodification of pre-existing rules regarding what "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) should be considered jurisdictional under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).
We support the proposed action to replace the stayed 2015 definition of "waters of the United States", and re-codify the exact same regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 rule, which reflects the current legal regime under which the agencies are operating pursuant to the Sixth Circuit's October 9, 2015 order.
The West has been forever changed by the construction of the massive system of canals, ditches, and drains, all part of an irrigation system envied by the world. The world-class agricultural production created by irrigation of farmland in the Western U.S. is highly dependent on the continued consistent operation and maintenance of this canal and drainage system, a complex, integrated, and interrelated labyrinth of miles and miles of ditches, drains, pipes, culverts, tile drains, and other arteries that carry the precious irrigation water to family farms and ranches, many of which are operated by our membership.
We stand ready to work with the EPA, the Corps, and our local, regional and state governments in protecting water quality on a common sense, practical and collaborative basis for our future and the future of our nation's water resources.