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Opinion: Missourians should continue to lead fight against WOTUS

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One of the most egregiously overreaching regulations of the Obama era is nearing its end.

Until April 15, President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency is taking public comments on its proposed replacement for the notorious Waters of the United States rules. Missourians need to be loud and clear in telling the EPA to ditch the WOTUS rule and replace it with the new Clean Water Rule.

When President Barack Obama proposed WOTUS in 2014, Missourians quite literally led the fight against it. A Missouri Farm Bureau analysis found that over 99 percent of Missouri would be impacted by this irrational rule. This was the last straw for many Missouri farmers. They felt like the Obama administration had no limit to its desire for government overreach.

Central Missouri farmers Andy and Kacey Clay decided the craziness needed to stop. In a take on the movie “Frozen’s” iconic song “Let It Go,” they created a memorable and catchy parody video called “That’s Enough!” In the video, Kacey belted out lyrics saying farmers have had enough of the federal government’s overregulation. Her closing line memorably told the EPA and Corps of Engineers, “We don’t need more government anyway!”

To cut through the noise in Washington, D.C., it can takes something a little silly and over-the-top action to get the attention of government bureaucrats. This was definitely the case with WOTUS. In the wake of the video, the Clay family was asked to interview with several national news outlets and gained enormous national attention. The EPA began to notice.

Two months after the video, then-EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy came to Missouri to try and discredit the video’s message. She argued the fears raised by the Clays and other Missouri farmers were nothing but “myths.”

Thanks in part to litigation filed by Missouri’s attorney general, WOTUS was held up in court long enough for Trump to be inaugurated and switch course. As one of the first acts of his administration, Trump announced his intention to ditch WOTUS and replace it with common-sense, clear rules to keep our water clean.

We are finally nearing the end of the years-long process of repealing the WOTUS and replacing it with the new Clean Water Rule. The proposed rule sets up clear guidelines to help farmers and others keep water clean for all Americans. It is far better for our water and environment than the extremely technical and ambiguous WOTUS.

One of the final steps to complete the rulemaking process involves taking public comment on the proposed new rule. From now through April 15, citizens can go to MOFB.org and click on “Action Center” to submit their own comments.

Missourians led the nation in stopping WOTUS in its tracks – let’s lead again by showing the EPA we support Trump’s proposal to end it once and for all.

Eric Bohl is director of public affairs for the Missouri Farm Bureau in Columbia. He can be reached at publicaffairs@mofb.com.

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