Head of EPA and Sen. Strange speak with farmers over EPA regulations

Updated: Jul. 6, 2017 at 9:31 PM CDT
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(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

BIBB CO., AL (WSFA) - Farmers from all over the state came together in Bibb County Thursday as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency was on hand to speak about the Water of the United States rule.

Head of the EPA Scott Pruitt, along with Sen. Luther Strange came to Alabama today.

Pruitt is in the midst of trying to eliminate some regulations from the EPA including the Water of the United States rule, otherwise known as WOTUS.

The rule created during the Obama administration aims to include more waters to be protected by the federal government. It's aimed at keeping the water safe and drinkable.

Some farmers, especially those from major farms, believed WOTUS to be overreaching.

Pruitt last week took the first step towards repealing WOTUS, and spoke with supporters of the move in Alabama and Georgia today.

"We are trying to get the EPA back to its core mission, back to the basics," Pruitt said. "The EPA over the last several years has been paternalistic, oppressive, coercive and trying to tell people in Alabama how to do their jobs and those days are over. The regulatory assault is over."

Senator Luther Strange supported Pruitt's move

"We can have clean water, clean air, which we demand, and which people in agriculture care more than anyone about and we can also have an economy so we don't have to hamstring our economy to have clean air and clean water."

Pruitt and Strange received support from the gathered farmers.

However some are concerned lessening the regulations, could hurt the nation's water supplies.

According to a fact sheet offered by the EPA under the Obama administration, the WOTUS ruling aimed to protect water ways which provide the drinking water for 117million Americans.

WOTUS for some is a necessary protection of water ways, while for others it is an overreach of the federal government
into the business of citizens.

"It is a delicate balance because at the end of the day we are going to do our part as farmers to make sure we take care of the land, take care of the water, because we are drinking the same water," catfish farmer Townson Kyser said.

With Pruitt moving to repeal the regulation there will be a comment period before any repeal could happen.

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.