“We are undertaking a thorough analysis of the final WOTUS rule to determine whether the Environmental Protection Agency listened to the substantive comments farmers and ranchers submitted during the comment period. Based on EPA’s aggressive advocacy campaign in support of its original proposed rule—and the agency’s numerous misstatements about the content and impact of that proposal—we find little comfort in the agency’s assurances that our concerns have been addressed in any meaningful way.
“The process used to produce this rule was flawed. The EPA’s proposal transgressed clear legal boundaries set for it by Congress and the courts and dealt more with regulating land use than protecting our nation’s valuable water resources. EPA’s decision to mount an aggressive advocacy campaign during the comment period has tainted what should have been an open and thoughtful deliberative process. While we know that farmers and ranchers were dedicated to calling for substantial changes to the rule, we have serious concerns about whether their comments were given full consideration.
“We expect to complete our review in the next few days. We are looking in particular at how the rule treats so-called ephemeral streams, ditches, small ponds and isolated wetlands. We will decide on an appropriate course of action once that review is complete.”