Groups File Legal Challenges to New WOTUS Rule
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, and 16 other farm and builders’ groups are not waiting around for the Supreme Court to clarify the definition of WOTUS. NCBA, AFBF, and others filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Biden EPA last week for its final WOTUS rule.
The NCBA’s Chief Council, Mary Thomas Hart calls the updated WOTUS “an attack on farmers and ranchers” and “lacks common sense.” Hart acknowledges the Biden rule does exempt some farm features like drainage ditches, stock ponds, and prior-converted farmland, but no such exemption exists for streams that only flow when it rains. But why a lawsuit now, when the Supreme Court may narrow the definition of WOTUS when it rules in Sackett vs. EPA in a few months?
“One of the biggest reasons we filed the lawsuit is to hold off the implementation of the rule until we hear back from the Supreme Court, halt the rule until we’re able to argue the merits of the case, and then, obviously, will fight to get the rule vacated permanently."
She noted over 1,700 cattle producers last year sent messages to the EPA opposing the agency’s sweeping definition of WOTUS, but Hart claims EPA didn’t listen.
“Producers across the country are going to be required to spend a lot of money to figure out if they need additional permits if they’re going to be subject to enforcement. That is not at all what farmers and ranchers need to have to spend their money on.”
Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall issued a statement that the new WOTUS rule again gives the federal government “sweeping authority over private lands” and creates uncertainty for farmers “even if they’re miles from the nearest navigable water.”
Visit the Farm Bureau's Website to read the entire lawsuit.
If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-9791, or e-mail email@example.com