NDFB has vigorously opposed President Obama’s activist EPA, and for good reason. In the last eight years, EPA has repeatedly targeted North Dakota’s economic drivers: agriculture and energy. That’s why NDFB supports incoming Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. We believe he will work to curb the agency’s overreach and end the regulatory nightmare.
Under the Obama Administration, EPA has imposed more than 4,000 new regulations costing billions of dollars of compliance costs for farmers, ranchers and small business owners across the country.
In 2015, the EPA finalized the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule which expanded the definition of U.S. waters within the Clean Water Act. Under WOTUS, streams, creeks, ditches, brooks, and even ponds are all under the purview of the EPA. A sizeable portion of private land in North Dakota would be under federal jurisdiction. If a farmer wanted to build a pond on his property he’d first have to go through the government or face heavy fines. This rule is not only unconstitutional; it is a direct attack on farmers.
North Dakota’s energy sector has been similarly hard-hit. The EPA has published a litany of rules and regulations to fundamentally alter the state’s energy infrastructure. The EPA Power Plan, for example, requires North Dakota to reduce its carbon dioxide emission rate by 44.9 percent, even though North Dakota is one of only 12 states that achieves all of EPA’s air quality standards for public health.
The nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to serve as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency is a welcome reprieve. He will bring a reasoned and balanced approach back to an agency run amok with unnecessary and flawed regulations which have done more to hurt our environment than help it.
As attorney general, he helped develop robust regulations at the state level to implement economically viable conservation efforts. He reached across the aisle to pass meaningful regulations to protect Oklahoma waters and has aggressively pursed litigation against polluters. He’s a stalwart defender of the EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment.
The Obama administration’s aggressive regulatory agenda has harmed the economy, destroyed jobs, and hurt communities across America. Scott Pruitt would pursue a different path, one that emphasizes collaboration and innovative problem-solving. Pruitt has proven that he will be a tough, responsible steward. He will safeguard the environment. He will follow law and process and distinguish between federal government mandates and that of the states. Most importantly, he will ensure that the EPA is charged with protecting all people. Republicans and Democrats in the new Congress should work to confirm Scott Pruitt as head of EPA in the same bipartisan spirit which he has demonstrated in his home state.