Northern Ag Network
Northern Ag Network
Northern Broadcasting System    Northern News Network    Northern Sports Network
Search This Site...
Search This Site...
Water of the U.S. Rule on Hold in 24 States

Water of the U.S. Rule on Hold in 24 States

6/12/2018 5:20:00 AM/Categories: Popular Posts, General News, Today's Top 5, Livestock, Grains

A federal district court in Georgia slapped a preliminary injunction on the 2015 waters of the United States, or WOTUS, rule on Friday, suspending the implementation of the rule in 11 states.

The order for injunction handed down by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, is the latest action in a complicated series of court cases challenging the WOTUS rule.

The WOTUS rule finalized by President Barack Obama's administration in 2015 sought to expand EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authority of water across the country, allowing them to stop or require federal permits for any activity that would disturb the waterway. The rule changed the definition of so-called navigable waters, and farmers and ranchers were concerned that even the smallest pond or ditch could be declared a federal waterway. Agriculture and other industry groups, along with many states, filed legal challenges against the rule claiming it violated the federal constitution.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled legal challenges to the rule belong at the district court level, district court cases previously on hold have resumed. A national stay on the rule expired when the Supreme Court rendered its decision.

The Georgia court on Friday put the rule on hold in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Kentucky -- the 11 states that filed the original lawsuit in Georgia in June 2015. The rule also is on hold in South Dakota, Missouri, Alaska, North Dakota, New Mexico, Idaho, Arizona, Nebraska, Montana, Arkansas, Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming as part of an ongoing similar case in North Dakota.

The EPA approved a final rule setting back the effective date of the WOTUS rule to February 2020, to allow the agency to conduct a rewrite. That delay is being challenged in court by a number of states and environmental groups.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a statement to DTN the ruling in Georgia was "a clear validation of many concerns" that farm bureau has expressed about the rule.

"We need to continue to work diligently to support the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to formally repeal the rule," he said. "The illegal rule is overbroad, vague and confusing, and it goes far beyond the intent of Congress when it passed the Clean Water Act. This overreach and confusion has created a situation where farmers and ranchers would need to hire a team of lawyers and consultants to perform many ordinary farming practices on their land."

The district court in Georgia said the 11 states have "clearly met the burden of persuasion" on all of the four factors entitling them to a preliminary injunction.

"Three of the four factors (substantial likelihood of success on the merits, balance of harms, and public interest) weigh overwhelmingly in plaintiffs' favor," the court ruled.

"Given that the states filed this suit 36 months ago, and still no decision on the merits has been possible, it is quite possible that Feb. 6, 2020, will occur before a decision on the merits can be rendered. Therefore, the court finds that the occurrence of actual irreparable harm in 19 months is sufficiently imminent to weigh this factor in favor of the states."

The preliminary injunctions in place in the 24 states, now allow the states to pursue their legal challenges on the merits of the lawsuits originally filed.

On Friday, a number of agriculture and industry groups led by the American Farm Bureau Federation filed an amicus brief in support of motions for summary judgement. Those groups include the National Pork Producers Council, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the American Petroleum Institute, National Corn Growers Association, and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, as well as other building industry groups.

In the past week, 13 states that still were involved in the pending case in North Dakota filed a motion for summary judgement in an attempt to close the books on that lawsuit. Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds also filed a motion for summary judgement to end the case.

The EPA faces additional lawsuits for delaying the 2015 rule. Attorneys general of 10 states and the District of Columbia sued EPA in February, alleging the agency's final rule suspending the 2015 rule is unlawful. New York's attorney general was joined by attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia. The Natural Resources Defense Council also filed a similar lawsuit.

Source: DTN


Leave a comment

Add comment


Recent Ag News

Duckworth-From Sheep to Shelf

10/15/2018 3:53:00 PM
A Montana sheep ranch is blazing an exciting trail by creating more value for their wool by launching its very own Sheep to Shelf™ clothing line. >> Read More
Article rating: No rating

MSU recipient of $3.2 million USDA grant for a better lentil crop

10/15/2018 2:03:00 PM

BOZEMAN -- Montanans have grown lentils for two decades, at times producing more lentils than any other state. But growers and scientists still have many questions about managing the crop that is said to be uniquely suited for the northern Great Plains and Pacific Northwest.

>> Read More
Article rating: No rating

Livestock Groups Petition Department of Transportation for Hours of Service Flexibility

10/15/2018 9:33:00 AM

WASHINGTON (October 15, 2018) – Today organizations representing livestock, bee, and fish haulers across the country submitted a petition to the Department of Transportation (DOT) requesting additional flexibility on Hours of Service (HOS) requirements. The petition asks for a five-year exemption from certain HOS requirements for livestock haulers and encourages DOT to work with the livestock industry to implement additional fatigue-management practices.

>> Read More
Article rating: No rating

Conserving Open Spaces and Agriculture

10/15/2018 6:00:00 AM

The Ruby Valley Strategic Alliance (RVSA) was formed by ranchers and conservationists who recognize family ranches play an essential role in public land stewardship and conservation of open space. The alliance recently held a public tour near Twin Bridges to share how agriculture and conservation go hand in hand.

>> Read More
Article rating: No rating

NCBA Calls for Flexibility on Hours of Service Rules

10/12/2018 6:24:00 AM
At a public listening session hosted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association called for additional flexibility on Hours of Service rules for livestock haulers. >> Read More
Article rating: No rating

Find Articles by Date

«October 2018»