Ag teams sue to cease WOTUS rule

Representatives from 17 industries have filed a lawsuit making an attempt to overturn the Biden administration’s new Waters of america rule. Among the many agriculture teams listed as plaintiffs are the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Matagorda County Farm Bureau, the Nationwide Cattleman’s Beef Affiliation, the Nationwide Corn Growers Affiliation, the Pork Producers Council, the Texas Farm Bureau and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Affiliation.

Nationwide Cattlemen’s Beef Affiliation chief counsel Mary-Thomas Hart says they’re combating again towards a coverage she characterizes as an assault on farmers and ranchers.

“The rule removes longstanding, bipartisan exclusions for small and remoted water options on farms and ranches and provides to the regulatory burden cattle producers are dealing with beneath this administration,” says Hart. “We stay up for difficult this rule in court docket and making certain that cattle producers are handled pretty beneath the regulation.”

The lawsuit was filed within the Southern Texas District Federal Courtroom in Galveston. It states that the WOTUS rule ought to be thrown out as a result of it conflicts with the Clear Water Act, the U.S. Structure and supreme court docket precedent.

The Environmental Safety Company and administrator Michael Regan are named as defendants together with the U.S. Military Corp of Engineers and a number of other of its officers. Further plaintiffs embody the American Petroleum Institute, the American Highway and Transportation Builders Affiliation, the Related Common Contractors of America, Main Builders of America, the Nationwide Affiliation of Homebuilders, the Nationwide Affiliation of Realtors, the Nationwide Mining Affiliation, the Nationwide Multifamily Housing Council, the Nationwide Stone, Sand and Gravel Affiliation and the Public Lands Council.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says the WOTUS rule is simply too imprecise and creates uncertainty for farmers, even these miles away from navigable waters. He expects the choose to throw the rule out and direct EPA to develop a greater rule.

“Farmers and ranchers share the purpose of defending the sources we’re entrusted with. Clear water is vital to all of us,” Duvall says. “Sadly, the brand new WOTUS rule as soon as once more provides the federal authorities sweeping authority over personal lands. This isn’t what clear water laws had been supposed to do. Farmers and ranchers shouldn’t have to rent a crew of attorneys and consultants to find out how we will farm our land.”

In accordance with the NCBA press launch, greater than 1,700 cattle producers despatched messages to the EPA final yr opposing the kind of regulation the Biden administration introduced in December. The Affiliation is especially involved about sustaining agricultural exclusions for small, remoted water options, together with ephemeral streams that solely circulate sometimes however are often dry. NCBA believes regulating these options on the federal stage disrupts regular agricultural operations and interferes with cattle producers’ potential to make enhancements to their land.

NCBA Vice Chair Gene Copenhaver’s personal southwest Virginia cattle operation has a creek that solely flows after heavy rains. He says that is the kind of characteristic that will be topic to advanced federal regulation if the WOTUS rule is allowed to face.

“Farmers are stewards of the land and perceive the significance of fresh water. Sadly, this rule lacks frequent sense and makes our lives extra difficult,” Copenhaver says. “I’m happy with NCBA’s work combating again towards this rule and I hope the uncertainty created by WOTUS will quickly be a factor of the previous.”

NCBA additionally questions the timing of the WOTUS rule. It was introduced two months after the Supreme Courtroom heard arguments within the Sackett vs EPA case. In that case, an Idaho landowner is suing the EPA over laws requiring him to get a allow earlier than filling wetlands to construct a lake home. Many observers consider that the court docket will rule to restrict the EPA’s regulating powers. A ruling is anticipated early this yr.