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Byrne applauds Trump Administration overturning Obama-Era “Waters of the US” rule

Thursday, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) said that it was “great news for Alabama farmers and landowners” in response to the announcement that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have finalized a rule repealing the Obama-era waters of the US (WOTUS) proposed rule.

“Today’s announcement is great news for Alabama farmers and landowners who have been justifiably concerned by the legally dubious and overly burdensome WOTUS rule.” Byrne said.
“This misguided regulation would have expanded federal jurisdiction far beyond what the Clean Water Act intended and amounted to a power grab by government bureaucrats.”

“I thank President Trump for delivering on this campaign promise, and I am committed to advocating for policies that empower people, not Washington bureaucrats, to protect our land and water,” Rep. Byrne concluded.”

The Alabama Farmer’s Federation welcomed the administration’s announcement of a fresh start for clean water and clear rules as a victory for farmers and ranchers.

“As farmers and ranchers, we share the goal of protecting the nation’s waters, but the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule was unlawful and unworkable,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “It made conservation more difficult and created huge liabilities for farmers.”

The American Farm Bureau, state Farm Bureaus and an array of allies have fought for years to finalize a new rule that protects the nation’s waters and provides clear rules for states, farmers, ranchers and small businesses to follow.

“No regulation is perfect, and no rule can accommodate every concern, but the 2015 rule was especially egregious,” Parnell said. “We are relieved to put it behind us. We are now working to ensure a fair and reasonable rule that protects our water and our ability to work and care for the land.”

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Congressman Byrne has long advocated against the Obama-era rule that would redefine “navigable waterways” to include everything from a family pond to small ditches and would have subjected farmers, foresters, municipalities, and small businesses to additional federal regulation and added compliance costs.

Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He is not seeking re-election and instead is a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.

Byrne is one of several Republicans seeking the GOP nomination for the Senate seat currently held by Doug Jones (D). The GOP field includes State Representative Arnold Mooney, businessman Stanley Adair, former Chief Justice Roy Moore, Secretary of State John H. Merrill, and former Auburn football Coach Tommy Tuberville.

The major party primaries will be on March 3, 2020.

(Original reporting by ALFA’s Debra Davis contributed to this report.)

Correction: This article previously stated that major party primaries would be held Nov. 3, 2020. Major party primaries will actually be held in March 2020. The article has been updated to reflect that correction.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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