Beef Buzz News
Repeal of WOTUS Strikes Emotional Chord with OCA's Michael Kelsey, Reflecting on Action's Significance
Fri, 13 Sep 2019 11:36:32 CDT
The final nail in the coffin has been hammered for the 2015 Obama-era Waters of the United States rule, overturned officially by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Thursday, after a lengthy repeal process set in motion early on in the first days of the Trump Administration. Agriculture groups throughout the industry cheered the announcement from EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, including the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association. Michael Kelsey, OCA executive vice president, joined Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays on the phone yesterday to discuss the significance of this legislative victory.
Hear the full exchange between Kelsey and Hays discussing EPA's official repeal of WOTUS, below.
"Long story short, you can't control the water without controlling the land," Kelsey said. "This was the largest private property grab in the history of our country and now it's gone. That assault was monumental. It's taken a long, long time and many years later now it's finally gone. This has been a long time coming and we're very excited, very happy about this."
While the highly-controversial rule is officially dead in the eyes of the government, the pain is not quite over yet. Kelsey explains that as is the case when anything is removed, there is a rush to fill the vacuum. This, he says, will come in the form of litigation from environmental extremist groups that could take some time to process as the Administration works to craft a new rule to take the nullified rule's place. Kelsey says his organization will continue to remain engaged with its allies in the ag community to ensure this decision stays until a replacement is formally implemented. Kelsey remarked that he can't help but reflect on the journey leading up to this moment of victory and remembers his good friend and fixture in the Oklahoma beef industry, Richard Gebhart, a past president of the OCA, now deceased.
"I remember sitting with him in DC when the EPA Administrator at the time was addressing the group we were in and said, 'don't worry folks, this rule will still allow you to farm and ranch,'" he said. "The audacity for EPA to say they would 'allow' us to farm and ranch with this rule- Richard was a veteran and there wasn't a lot that scared him, but this rule did. So, it's been a long time coming but it's a good day."
Hear the full exchange between Kelsey and Hays discussing the EPA's official repeal of the 2015 WOTUS rule, on today's Beef Buzz.
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