DES MOINES – Governor Reynolds released the following statement following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of the Army (the agencies) recent announcement that they will revise the definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS).
“The Biden administration is taking a giant leap backwards and ignoring the reasonable and practical steps our farmers take to protect the land and their livelihood,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Under the Obama-era WOTUS rule a puddle of water was considered a body of water, subjecting farms, manufacturers, and small businesses across Iowa and America to burdensome and costly regulations. We cannot accept that definition, and I plan to vigorously oppose any attempt to impose this harmful, radical policy on Iowans.”
Over 97% of land in Iowa would be defined as a watershed under federal regulation under the 2015 Obama-era rule. In Iowa, 92% of total land is used for agriculture (30.5 million acres). According to the last USDA census of agriculture, Iowa generated almost $29 billion in crop and livestock sales (ranked #2 nationally). Agriculture and related industries in Iowa are estimated to contribute $40 billion in total value to the economy and $22 billion in household income.
Governor Reynolds plans to work with the federal congressional delegation and stakeholders in Iowa to ensure Iowans voices are heard as the EPA prepares to enter the rulemaking process. As Governor and Lt. Governor, Reynolds actively lobbied both the Obama Administration and the Trump Administration to redefine WOTUS in a more practical and sustainable way. In January of 2020, Governor Reynolds praised the Trump Administration for addressing this harmful policy and protecting Iowa farmers and their land. That statement can be found here.