Shutdown Delays WOTUS Comment Period

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The government shutdown is delaying a comment period for the Trump administration’s new Waters of the U.S. proposal. 
 
The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers will delay publishing the proposed WOTUS replacement in the Federal Register until after funding is restored at EPA, according to Politico. 
 
The 60-day comment period won’t begin until the proposed rule is published in the federal register. Additionally, the EPA had planned a hearing in Kansas City, Kansas, later this month on the proposal. 
 
However, due to the shutdown, that hearing has been delayed indefinitely. The WOTUS replacement, welcomed by U.S. agriculture, protects resources, respects the law and provides greater clarity so the agencies and the public can identify regulated federal waterways, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. 
 
Following the announcement of the proposal last month, AFBF President Zippy Duval said the new rule “will empower farmers and ranchers to comply with the law,” protect water resources and allow farmers to “productively work their land without having to hire an army of lawyers and consultants.”