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Businesses relieved by elimination of EPA rule - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Businesses relieved by elimination of EPA rule

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TUCSON – Many business owners are celebrating the repeal of an environmental regulation.

The Environmental Protection Agency is eliminating the Waters of the United States rule, commonly known as WOTUS.

Tina Thompson’s family has operated a ranch near Willcox since 1879. She recently needed to drill a well. The application to the Arizona Department of Water Resources took 7 days. She said, under WOTUS, she would also need a federal permit.

“If anybody has dealt with federal government and permits they know how lengthy that can be,” Thompson said. “And we just couldn't wait, for the sake of our cattle, to be able to have water.”

The well is near a wash that runs a few times a year. The ranchers also use heavy equipment to dig out tanks that catch mountain runoff. They bury pipelines, build roads and construct fences. They were afraid all those activities would be limited under WOTUS.

“The Clean Water Act, when it was enacted in 1972, was a good thing,” Thompson said. “We did need some guidance and to keep our waters clean, but this is so broad.”

Rep. Martha McSally helped fight WOTUS. After President Donald Trump was elected she led a congressional letter asking for relief from the new administration.

“We all want to make sure that the waters out there are clean and they are complying with the current law of the Clean Water Act,” McSally said. “And this was being managed mostly by the states previously. And this is just a classic example of over-reach.”

Tucson City Council member Paul Cunningham said the city has made major progress in the past 30 years restoring wells.

“We've worked really hard to protect this resource,” Cunningham said. “Like it or not, water is going to be a commodity. It's not just going to be considered a natural resource.”

He said the WOTUS repeal is an example of special interests influencing Washington.

“To slash and burn the entire policy is a mistake,” he said. “It is irresponsible government, and it is not conducive to protecting the water supply in our state.”

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