The first-ever Iowa Ag Summit attracted nine presidential hopefuls on the Republican side of the aisle. Part 1 covered the potential candidates’ views on the Renewable Fuels Standard, which were both pro and con. That wasn’t the case with the EPA-Army Corps of Engineers rule redefining what classifies as waters of the United States (WOTUS).
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says, “Government needs to be more collaborative and we need to empower state government. [Regarding Waters of the U.S.], EPA is doing its own rule-making. Waters of the U.S. is nothing more than a power grab by the administration.”
Florida Governor Jeb Bush says, regarding WOTUS, “It’s just outrageous – EPA can now put its tentacles in every aspect of every activity in the state of Florida and I'm sure here in Iowa it's the same. We have to begin to rein in this top-down driven regulatory system and figure out more collaborative ways that achieve the most good."
“How do you change that?” asked Bruce Rastetter, moderator and organizer of the event
"The first thing you do is you change presidents," responded Bush. “Practical common sense would be useful in every level of the EPA. This president has used his authority to go way beyond what any president has done in the past.
“We need to ship power back to state and local government,” continues Bush. “Federal rules should go through a more rigid cost-benefit analysis that is based on real economic impacts. We need to bring an independent viewpoint, because even if it is a well-intended idea, if it costs 3x more than the benefit, then maybe we shouldn't do it."
Texas Senator Ted Cruz says, “I think voluntary conservation reserve is a great program. The contrast of the EPA’s efforts to regulate the waters of the United States is dangerous, irresponsible and completely lawless.”
He adds dryly, “I willing to bet I’m not the only person here who is disappointed with the politicians in Washington.
“I will tell you that with every breath in my body, you know you can count on the fact that I’m going to do what I said I was going to do, and I’ll tell you the truth,” says Cruz.
Former Governor of New York, George Pataki talked about the program created in New York for methane digesters. He says the state offered grants for up to 75 percent of the cost and sees this technology as a way to improve the environment and reduce run-off from farms.
The other invited guests didn’t speak directly to WOTUS, but had plenty to say about other issues, which will be covered in Part 3.