Home / Tag Archives: WOTUS

Tag Archives: WOTUS

Agriculture applauds newly proposed clean water rule

The Trump Administration proposed a new water rule on Dec. 11 designed to replace the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

The new water rule would:

  • Protect the private property rights of American cattle producers;
  • Provide safeguards for America’s waters;
  • Observe the appropriate role of the federal government in regulating waterways;
  • Restore state and local authority to protect waters;
  • Respect Congress’s intent in limiting jurisdiction to “navigable waters” in the Clean Water Act.

As a next step, the proposed rule will be posted in the Federal Register and become open for public comment. The 2015 WOTUS rule is currently in effect in 22 states. The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers are currently in the process of repealing the 2015 WOTUS rule.

“After years of uncertainty stemming from the 2015 WOTUS rule, the Trump Administration’s new water rule represents a fresh start for America’s cattle producers,” said Kevin Kester, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Continue reading

Read More »

WOTUS court decision as clear as the mud it governs

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and an attorney near Celina

A recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina is clear as mud. And that mud is likely considered “Waters of the US” and governed by the Clean Water Act (CWA).

On Aug. 16, 2018, Federal Judge David C. Norton enjoined the suspension of the WOTUS (Waters of the US) Rule promulgated by the Obama Administration. The decision is problematic because it creates a patchwork of states where the WOTUS rule applies and others where it does not. WOTUS is now the law in 26 states, including Ohio. The other 25 are: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Tennessee, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The District of Columbia and U.S. territories are also subject to WOTUS.

Continue reading

Read More »

NCBA responds to WOTUS video reaction

About a year ago, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association released a video on the 2015 WOTUS rule that featured an interview with then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Radical environmental groups cried foul, and House Representatives Elijah Cummings, Peter DeFazio, Betty McCollum, and Frank Pallone asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate whether Pruitt’s appearance violated federal anti-lobbying and propaganda laws. The GAO concluded definitively that the video “did not violate the publicity or propaganda, grassroots lobbying, or Interior anti-lobbying provisions.”

“Radical environmental activists and their allies in Congress first requested this sham investigation to distract from the real issue: Their misguided support for the gravely flawed 2015 WOTUS rule,” said Colin Woodall, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the NCBA. “It is a shame to think about the wasted taxpayer dollars that were devoted to this report in a vain attempt by Representatives Cummings, DeFazio, McCollum, and Pallone to grab a few headlines.

Continue reading

Read More »

WOTUS back in business for Ohio

WOTUS has been reinstated by a U.S. District Court in South Carolina and is now the law in Ohio.

Agriculture lobbied hard against the controversial 2015 Waters of the United States rule because it expanded Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. In August, U.S. District Judge David Norton issued a ruling saying the Trump administration did not comply with rulemaking requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act in previously suspending the rule.

The Trump Environmental Protection Agency a year ago said it would repeal and replace the Obama Administration regulation, and it delayed the rule’s effective date until 2020. The rule, which took effect in August 2015, was enjoined in 24 states that brought lawsuits against it. A U.S. District Court in Georgia in June issued a preliminary injunction against implementation of the regulation in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin, and a District Court in North Dakota in August 2015 did the same for Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. 

Continue reading

Read More »

Farm groups weighing in on WOTUS

The 2015 version of the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule must be permanently rescinded, and the prior version of the regulation re-codified, to provide certainty for dairy farmers, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said.

In comments submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) this week, NMPF outlined its support for both agencies’ proposal to repeal the current definition of WOTUS and rewrite it to reflect common-sense approaches to protecting the environment. In addition, NMPF joined numerous farm and food organizations to submit an additional 22 pages of comments that provided an extensive legal and technical assessment of what the two agencies did wrong three years ago in an attempt to update the regulation.

“Dairy farmers undertake extensive efforts to manage the natural resources that are critical to their livelihoods,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF President and CEO. “WOTUS must provide proper clarity on what falls under its jurisdiction so that farmers can better meet the industry’s shared commitment to clean water.”

In early 2017, the Trump Administration ordered a review of the WOTUS rule in response to concerns many farm groups had raised since the measure was finalized in 2015.

Continue reading

Read More »

Mr. President, do not take farm vote for granted

I know that many people involved in agriculture, myself included, were thrilled to see President Donald Trump take time out of his very busy schedule to visit the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Nashville in January.

In that speech, we found out that the President is hearing about and working on so many issues that will affect farm country. From a new farm bill, to NAFTA, immigration reform, infrastructure, or countless regulations that are currently hindering progress in our industry, Mr. Trump mentioned the many woes facing agriculture as he spoke directly to thousands of farmers and ranchers from that stage in Music City.

The elephant in the room when it comes to rural America and politics at the highest levels of government is whether President Trump will truly take into account why he holds the title of Commander-In-Chief. If not for farm country, the oval office décor would have a completely different vibe.

Continue reading

Read More »

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear WOTUS Rule

In a case successfully argued by Ohio’s Solicitor Eric Murphy, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals based in Cincinnati has determined that it has jurisdiction to hear challenges to the Clean Water Rule (WOTUS Rule) proposed by the U.S. EPA and Army Corps of Engineers. The Rule expands the geographic extent of the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) that are subject to the Clean Water Act. 

A brief background

When the agencies published the final WOTUS Rule last summer, dozens of parties and 31 states, including Ohio, filed challenges in nine federal district courts and eight federal courts of appeal. The filings raised an immediate uncertainty about whether federal district courts or federal courts of appeal have jurisdiction to review the Rule. Despite this uncertainty, the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota issued a temporary injunction that prevented the Rule’s application in the 13 states that were involved in that district’s litigation.

Continue reading

Read More »

2015 legal review

Will Rogers said, “If you’re ridin’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.” Spending time rehashing the past is not one of my favorite things, but 2015 had some important agricultural legal developments that are worth noting.

Due to the algae problems in Lake Erie and its western basin, the Ohio Legislature passed new manure regulations for parts of Ohio, effective on June 21, 2015. New restrictions include prohibitions for hauling on frozen or wet ground. A crucial component of the law is the provision that provides the planting of cover crops to increase manure handling options. These or similar restrictions will likely be law for all of the state in the future.

A federal court in Idaho ruled that Idaho’s “ag gag” law was unconstitutional as it violated the first and fourteenth amendments of the Constitution. These laws that restrict photographing livestock and other forms of speech were passed as a reaction to undercover activists recording alleged animal abuses and then releasing the films to the media.

Continue reading

Read More »

House votes to halt water rule

The U.S. House this week voted 262-152 to approve legislation that would prevent the development and implementation of a regulation expanding the scope of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) to cover most of the country’s water bodies, ditches and gullies, a rule that would be particularly detrimental to agriculture. Numerous agricultural organizations hailed the bill’s passage and will be urging the Senate to take similar action.

“The House of Representatives today stood with farmers and ranchers and against the regulatory overreach of the EPA,” said Bob Stallman, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “Passage of H.R. 5078 isn’t just a clear rejection of the overreach that lies in the EPA’s proposed Waters of the U.S. rule. Today’s action is an unmistakable signal that the tide is turning against those who ignore the constitutional separation of powers in the United States. We will ditch this rule.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S.

Continue reading

Read More »