The American Farm Bureau Federation released documents outlining how the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule will give the agency sweeping powers to regulate land use, despite a body of law clearly prohibiting such overreach.

The Farm Bureau analysis makes available to the public details the EPA has refused to address in public meetings over the past year. The documents are available as PDF attachments linked at the end of this article.

“Our analysis shows yet again how unwise, extreme and unlawful this rule is,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said. “Our public affairs specialists and legal team have assembled the best analysis available anywhere, and their conclusions are sobering: Despite months of comments and innumerable complaints, the Waters of the U.S. proposal is even worse than before.”

The WOTUS rule, first released in draft form in April 2014, has garnered fierce opposition from farmers, ranchers and land owners of all kinds. Dozens of states and countless municipalities oppose the measure since it would federalize regulation already handled at the local level.

Just as important is the rule’s radical view of “water” which, in its view, should encompass the vast majority of land in the United States since it surrounds actual water that may or may not be protected under the Clean Water Act.

Alarmed by the agency’s actions, the House of Representatives recently voted to prohibit the EPA from enacting the rule. A similar bill is moving through the Senate and could come to a floor vote within weeks. 

Farm Bureau analysis of the WOTUS rule

Fact or Fiction?

It’s like déjà vu all over again. Just as with the proposed rule a year ago, EPA’s spin machine is in overdrive, promoting the newly released final rule defining “waters of the United States” regulated under the federal Clean Water Act.  (EPA has gone to calling it the “Clean Water Rule,” because everyone supports clean water! But people who’ve read the rule know it’s more about regulating land than protecting water.)  EPA and the Corps recently released a bundle of fabrications boldly labeled “The Clean Water Rule FACT CHECK.” So we took the opportunity to check their “facts.”  Click above to access this PDF fact-check of what the EPA is telling people.

Comparison Chart: WOTUS Draft vs. Final

This document goes into a detailed comparison and analysis of the current "Waters of the U.S." statutes, those in the proposed rule, and those now revealed in EPA's final rule.  The far-right column is Farm Bureau's analysis of the differences.

Analysis of the WOTUS final rule:
Condensed version
Detailed version

Farm Bureau has provided two backgrounders here, analyzing the EPA's final version of the "Waters of the U.S."  The condensed version is 2 pages; the detailed version is 9 pages.