WOTUS Back on the Table: Court rules
U.S. producers that thought the controversial Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) act was a piece of ancient history, got a slap in the face with a recent ruling, reinstating the act in 26 states. The U.S. District Court for South Carolina ruled that the Trump administration did not follow the proper rulemaking process when rescinding WOTUS, and that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not meet requirements for public notice or provide a sufficient comment period.
“Due to a misguided ruling by a single federal district court today, the overbroad, vague and illegal 2015 Waters of the United States Rule is now the law of the land in twenty-six states,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a release on August 16.
“To avoid widespread uncertainty and potential enforcement against ordinary farming activities in these already-uncertain times, we call on the administration to take immediate steps to limit the impact of this dangerous court decision. The U.S. District Court for South Carolina was wrong to invalidate the agency’s ‘applicability rule’ that had simply delayed the effective date of the 2015 WOTUS rule. The delay rule would have maintained regulatory certainty and stability while the administration completes its reconsideration of the 2015 rule and works to develop a new regulation to provide both clean water and clear rules. Today’s court ruling creates enormous regulatory uncertainty and risk for farmers, ranchers and others in the 26 states that are not already protected from the unlawful 2015 rule by previous court decisions.”
Duvall went on to point out that the flawed 2015 rule is now applicable to citizens in 26 states, and that AFBF hopes the administration will take immediate action to limit the scope of the injunction to just South Carolina.