The Trump Administration’s decision to return water-permitting authority to more states is being hailed as a good thing by agriculture groups. The U.S. Army, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Justice Department, and the White House all signed an agreement on the issue. States can assume the authority to issue permits for earth moving in and around regulated waterways, wetlands, and land that sometimes channels water.
“The Clean Water Act was supposed to give states a real say in how water was regulated,” says American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. “Regular farming and ranching activities shouldn’t get tangled up in red tape.”
Duvall says only two states currently have authority to issue permits to allow landowners to move soil that could potentially affect federally regulated waters, those being Michigan and New Jersey. At least 14 more states have expressed interest in having that same ability. Duvall adds, “This announcement takes us closer to how the law was intended to work.”