Beef Buzz News
Eco-Activists Muddy the Waters Again with New Supreme Court Filing as WOTUS Debate Wraps UpThu, 23 May 2019 09:57:21 CDT
The period for public comment on the revised Waters of the United States rule that has been proposed by the Administration has come to an end. Now, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers will spend the next few months ahead combing through those comments, reviewing and responding to each one of the more than 600,000 letters submitted. Scott Yager is chief environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and in recent conversation with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays offered his expectations for the process as it moves forward toward finalizing the rule.
“I think we’re going to see a final rule before the end of the year probably in December, right before Christmas time. That’s what we’re shooting for,” he said. “There are specific areas of the proposal we are recommending some changes to, to make it even better for the cattle industry, but overall we’re pretty happy with what we saw in the proposal. So, we’re on a path here to victory.”
Throughout the process that has been ongoing practically since the Trump Administration was put in place, two constants have remained NCBA’s priority in the discussions surround the revision of the controversial 2015 WOTUS rule implemented by the Obama EPA. Those of course involving the protection of private property rights and ensuring industry stakeholders having a seat at the table. While prospects are promising for better terms and a better future under this revised rule, another question has been raised by activist litigation - bringing groundwater into the fray. Later this year, the Supreme Court will hear a case on groundwater contamination. The verdict, Yager says, will have a ripple effect nationwide and could lead to the regulatory scrutiny of producers who fertilize their land. Basically, if fertilizer used on cropland seeps into groundwater and finds its way into a navigable water, a WOTUS, then said producer might be found guilty of a federal Clean Waters Act violation. Yager says NCBA has banded together with other groups to fight for producers’ rights in this instance.
Listen to Yager and Hays discuss the status of water issues like the revised WOTUS rule and this upcoming Supreme Court case and the impacts they will have on the cattle industry, on today’s Beef Buzz.
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