SHAFTER, California — In January, the Environmental Protection Agency made some changes to the definition of the waters of the United States (WOTUS), under the Clean Water Act.
To simply this, it means this rule is an attempt to narrow down which bodies of water will be federally regulated. Its purpose is to protect small streams and wetlands in the United States from harmful chemicals and pollution.
Farmers in Kern County are expressing concern about these changes, who say it is causing confusion and could hurt small locally owned farms.
They say the new definition could expand to their private property by requiring them to need a WOTUS permit in order to be able to work their own land.
Several courts have already blocked this rule from taking effect in 24 states, such as Iowa and North Dakota. For now, farmers say they support the need for clean water and ensure this happens, but wish more thought was put into this revision.