August 10, 2017
The National Cotton Council (NCC) is urging its members to file comments in support of the repeal of the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule and the temporary reinstatement of the previous rule. Since the proposal to repeal WOTUS was published on July 27, almost 2,000 comments have been filed, many of which seek to maintain WOTUS as the law of the land. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have outlined a two-step process to replace WOTUS with a more workable regulation. The first step is to rescind the WOTUS rule, followed by a collaborative process of working with all stakeholders to develop a more reasonable regulation.
Below are several means by which you can file your comments. Below that is a sample comment letter for your use, although we strongly suggest that you write your own comments based on the example below. Comments in your own words will count much more to the agencies in charge of this issue. However, if you use the template below, please add a description of your operation at the beginning of the letter and sign the letter. Feel free to modify it as you see fit.
Comments must be received on or before August 28, 2017.
To send mail via the United States Postal Service, use the following address.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPA Docket Center
Docket #: EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0203
Mail Code 28221T
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460
FAX: (202) 566-9744
To file directly online, go to http://tinyurl.com/RepealWOTUS, click on “Comment Now!” and follow directions.
If you have any questions, please contact NCC’s Steve Hensley at 202-745-7805 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAMPLE COMMENT LETTER
RE: Docket Number EPA–HQ–OW–2017–0203, Definition of ‘‘Waters of the United States’’—Recodification of Pre-Existing Rules
[Please provide information about your organization or farm here.]
I support the proposal to repeal the 2015 “Waters of the U.S.” rule (aka “WOTUS” or “Clean Water Rule”) and to temporarily replace it by recodifying the regulations that existed before the 2015 Clean Water Rule.
As a cotton farmer, clean water is an important resource to me, my family and our way of life. The current WOTUS rule is overly broad and creates heavy burdens and costs, legal risks and tremendous uncertainty for farmers, ranchers and others like me who depend on the land for our livelihood. The rule was supposed to clarify how farmers and others could operate under the Clean Water Act. Instead, the rule created additional confusion and immediately became embroiled in lawsuits that left us in regulatory limbo. Under WOTUS, farmers, ranchers and other landowners across the country face new roadblocks to ordinary land-use activities.
I strongly support EPA for taking this important first step toward developing a new definition of waters of the United States that will protect water quality while also promoting economic growth, providing regulatory clarity, and respecting the proper roles of Congress and the states under the Constitution.
The EPA should move forward and eliminate the current rule once and for all, then write a new rule that protects water quality without trampling the rights of landowners, businesses and the states. The rewrite of this regulation should be an inclusive process with significant input from the various stakeholders.
[Add your name and/or farm/organization name here.]