AFBF: Updated WOTUS Rule Unworkable
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the EPA’s timing in issuing a final Waters of the U.S. rule last week, ahead of a Supreme Court decision, will only cause more disruption and uncertainty for producers. “Considerable confusion on the ground for the regulated community,” the Farm Bureau noted.
“That was one of the reasons we asked the agencies to wait until the Supreme Court issued a decision in Sackett, because we’re introducing a new, and frankly, confusing rule to an already very convoluted permitting process,” said the AFBF’s Courtney Briggs.
She added the Biden rule that replaces the Trump Navigable Waters Protection Rule will take effect in roughly two months. She agrees with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association that the rule doesn’t clearly exempt from federal permitting, irrigation ditches, stock ponds, streams and other farm features, forcing costs on producers to figure out if they need permits.
“This rule hinges on the use of the ‘significant nexus test,’ which allows the agencies to do that case-by-case determination, but it also allows them to aggregate waters, together. So, it really does expand their reach, which is very concerning, and it’s the question before the High Court in Sackett.’”
Briggs said the Justices recognize they need to “come back and provide some clarity” on when a wetland is a water of the United States.
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