Rational Regulatory Environment Critical to Dairyland’s Success

Friday, July 7, 2017

Each year, during June Dairy Month we celebrate Wisconsin’s proud tradition and heritage in producing delicious dairy products. But where would our state’s top industries be if regulators in Washington, D.C. were reaching all the way across the nation to control daily farming practices, with a one-size fits all attitude and without regard to local needs? As Attorney General, I work every day to protect our state’s sovereignty and ensure Wisconsin industries like agriculture and manufacturing are not impeded by overzealous federal regulations.


In 2015, the Obama Administration published an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that would have drastically expanded federal authority to regulate natural resources in Wisconsin, including any body of water, such as isolated streams, hundred-year floodplains, and even roadside ditches. Commonly known as WOTUS, or waters of the United States, this regulation would have crippled the agriculture industry in Wisconsin, requiring federal permits for farmers to do daily activities on their farm.


To protect Wisconsin farmers from this federal overreach, I challenged this rule in court, and a federal court stopped the rule from being implemented while Wisconsin and a coalition of other states sued the EPA for this overreach. Once sworn into office, President Trump agreed to review the rule.


In response, I led a coalition of 20 state attorneys general in requesting the EPA preserve the role of the states in protecting the nation’s water sources, and maintaining Wisconsin’s role as the primary regulator of land and water within our state’s borders. I also asked the EPA to seriously consider the active role each state already plays in safeguarding its waterways. More control out of Washington, D.C. is not what the people of Wisconsin want or need.


I am excited to announce that in late June of this year, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the EPA is officially considering repealing the WOTUS rule. Such a repeal would ultimately provide relief to our state, citizens, and our leading industries, which is why in the coming months, I will be working to inform the EPA how Wisconsin’s role in regulating its own land and water is sufficient.


As your Attorney General, I am fighting for America’s Dairyland, and making sure that the Wisconsin agriculture industry has a stable and rational regulatory environment so our farmers can do the important work of feeding America.