Monday, November 22, 2021 - 04:23pm

Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford today urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s top water official to abandon the Biden administration’s proposal to revive the Obama-era Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

Sanford shared his and Gov. Doug Burgum’s concerns with EPA Office of Water Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox and Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jaime Pinkham during an EPA WOTUS listening session hosted by U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer today at Bismarck State College. U.S. Sen. John Hoeven and North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring also were among those participating. Under the Trump administration, the 2015 WOTUS rule was repealed in 2019 and replaced with the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

“The Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule provided common sense and clarity for farmers, landowners and state agencies on which waters aren’t subject to federal control, including most farm and roadside ditches and features that only hold water when it rains,” Sanford said. “We urge the current administration and EPA to reject the Obama-era WOTUS rule, which will create uncertainty about jurisdiction and place unnecessary, burdensome and costly regulations on North Dakota farmers, ranchers and industry at a time of rising inflation and food prices. Any proposed changes to federal water rules should work with, not against, our state regulations that already protect both surface water and groundwater, because no one cares more about North Dakota’s clean water than the people who live here.”