Beef Buzz News
NCBA Urges EPA to Press Pause on New WOTUS RulemakingThu, 06 Oct 2022 10:32:02 CDT
Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is back with National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Executive Director for National Resources and Executive Director of the Public Lands Council, Kaitlynn Glover, talking about urging the Biden administration to press pause on a new WOTUS (Waters of the U.S.) rule.
The NCBA has urged the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to halt their efforts for now on a new WOTUS rule. The Biden administration is working swiftly on their new rule currently, but Glover said they have asked the EPA to wait until the Supreme Court makes its ruling on the Sacket v. EPA case to avoid two rulemakings.
Now that the Supreme Court has taken in oral arguments on the Sackett v. EPA case, it is likely that a ruling can be expected in early 2023.
“We have urged the EPA and the Army Corps to pause their rulemaking,” Glover said. “It has been such a significant whiplash for cattle producers, for private landowners, and even for the agency itself.”
On average, Glover said the WOTUS rule has changed every 3.5 years because of the way the definition has changed.
“For the EPA to proceed with their rulemaking- to have a race to the finish line with the Supreme Court, is not a responsible regulatory perspective at this stage,” Glover said. “What we really want is a very clear definition of what is jurisdictional and in order for the EPA and for stakeholders to come to a conclusion on what that clear definition is, we are going to have to know where the Supreme Court is coming down on us, even if the EPA were to finalize this new definition before the court issues their decision, the agencies are going to have to go back to the drawing board.”
No matter what this court says, Glover said the administration is going to have to revisit the rule.
“So, rather than having a two for one- a rulemaking special, here in back-to-back years, we have urged the EPA to pause their process to allow for this Supreme Court process to move forward,” Glover said. “I’ll tell you right now that the rule is at OMB, the Office of Management and Budget. As we look at the administration’s process, they have moved swiftly to issue a final rule to have their positions in public, on paper, and move to enactment. This is exactly the wrong step to take for any administration, but to replace a rule just to spite a previous administration or in spite of a previous administration is not a significant enough motivation to take this kind of action.”
Glover said she is hopeful that the agencies will take a second look and realize that their timeline does not match a responsible regulatory process with respect to the Supreme Court.
“At the end of the day, NCBA, and our partners we have been really clear,” Glover said. “What we want to see in a definition of WOTUS, we want it to be clear and consistent, we don’t want this back and forth, but we also want to make sure that it’s common sense. Don’t regulate the things that are very clearly isolated, that very clearly don’t have that relative permanence.”
Glover said the conservation work that cattle producers do on a daily basis should not result in additional regulation for them. Maintaining those strong ag exemptions like stock ponds and farm ditches, she added, is critical in any final rule.
“The concern is, if there is more back and forth with the administration or EPA, or Army Corps on a WOTUS definition, because of the way they have handled timing with the court, the concern is that one of those things would be missed or that you would have less of a focus on making a good rule- a durable rule,” Glover said. “We want something that is clear, something that is durable, and something that makes sense.”
Glover said a WOTUS ruling needs to be one that support the work that cattle producers do to create and maintain healthy and safe water. The question of durability, she added, is absolutely key.
“I, for one, would really like to see the administration do it once and do it right, rather than have this back and forth that we seem to see coming down the road,” Glover said.
Click the LISTEN BAR below to listen to Ron Hays and Kaitlynn Glover talking about urging EPA to press pause on redefining WOTUS.
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