Beef Buzz News
NBCA’s Mary-Thomas Hart Breaks Down Alphabet Regulations For Cattle Industry to Watch
Fri, 16 Jul 2021 13:36:45 CDT
Across the U.S. there are several alphabet agencies and programs that impact agriculture.
One that has been around for quite some time is and currently finds itself in a bit of a mess is the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule- which under the Trump Administration morphed into the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, said Mary-Thomas Hart, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Deputy Environmental Counsel.
In April 2020, the Trump Administration finalized the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. NCBA along with other ag organizations went to work defending that rule in court, Hart said.
NCBA is currently involved in a number of federal court cases, she said, and there is a total of 15 federal legal cases considering the legality of the NWPR.
Those are all in different stages of litigation, but during President Biden’s first week in office he issued an executive order requiring all administrative agencies to consider many of the rules finalized during the Trump Administration, Hart said.
We recently saw a request from the Department of Justice on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency to remand litigation on the NWPR, Hart said, so the EPA requested to pull that rule back and reconsider it internally.
“Our litigation on the Navigable Waters Protection Rule is on hold right now, but NWPR is the rule across the country,” Hart said.
Yet another example is the National Environmental Policy Act, better known as NEPA.
We got some nice rules during the Trump Administration related to NEPA and how that very complex environmental statute is implemented, Hart said.
Hart said one particular instance that has been seen in NEPA is the increased weaponization.
“We’ve seen NEPA used as a way to prevent things that could be positive both for the environment and the person applying for a permit,” Hart said. “Federal grazing is a really good example of that,” she added.
Hart said NCBA is in the court room defending these updated NEPA rules, so it will be interesting to see where both the Biden Administration and the federal court system take them.
Also currently being discussed is the Endangered Species Act.
Though ESA has been fairly stable in the past, it is tough to get a species de-listed once it has recovered, Hart said.
During the Trump Administration the Department of Interior finalized the number of ESA rules to modernize implementation of that act, Hart said.
There continues to be ongoing litigation related to those ESA rules, Hart said, and NCBA is part of the group defending the modernization of the rules in court.
“Any major rules, especially in the environment and natural resources sector, at the beginning of this Administration have been pulled back,” Hart said. “We have not seen any formal decisions on where we are going, but I think the Biden Administration is taking a close look at how to best implement rules.”
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