Arizona, June 2, 2022 – The Arizona Farm Bureau Federation today was pleased to serve as the facilitator of a WOTUS Roundtable for the Southwest Region. Hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers, these roundtables were aimed at soliciting stakeholder feedback on the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, which serves to establish the jurisdictional scope of the Clean Water Act. According to a February 25, 2022 press release, the purpose of the roundtable was for EPA to gain regional stakeholder perspectives to develop an implementation approach that accounts for diverse regional variations.

Arizona Farm Bureau President Stefanie Smallhouse participated as a member of the roundtable, along with a diverse cross-section of water users and interests representing the mining, home building, tribal communities, conservation groups, and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

“It is our hope that the efforts of all those participating today will be considered in a meaningful way during the implementation of the first phase of the [ongoing WOTUS] rulemaking,” said President Smallhouse, also a rancher in southwest Arizona. “Over the last several decades, EPA and the Corps have steadily expanded the footprint of regulation in interpreting what qualifies as WOTUS.” Smallhouse highlighted that implementation of the Clean Water Act should be clear and restrained in scope, maintain critical exclusions for agricultural features including ditches, canals, and ponds, and preserve the rights of states to regulate natural resources within their own borders.

“We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the roundtable today and provide feedback on behalf of farmers and ranchers across Arizona. We would like to thank all the individuals participating in the roundtable today for their willingness to speak to their perspectives among differing viewpoints so that the agencies can implement a rule which brings clarity to all stakeholders while protecting water quality, allowing industry to thrive, and local economies and communities to thrive.”

A recording of the roundtable is available on EPA’s Roundtable YouTube channel.

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