The Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to delay for two-years implementation of the controversial ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule, while it withdraws and replaces the rule, drew quick praise from the American Farm Bureau Federation.
AFBF’s Don Parrish, says the two-year delay buys “regulatory certainty,” after the U.S. Supreme Court moved to clarify lower court jurisdiction over WOTUS.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told a U.S. Senate panel, the agency will finalize a rule to rescind WOTUS in late March or early April, and one to replace WOTUS, before the end of the year. President Trump signed an executive order last February, directing the ‘repeal-and-replace’ process.
But, Farm Bureau’s Parrish explains EPA’s two-year WOTUS delay avoids a regulatory quagmire for producers, once a federal appeals court stay ends later this month.
Parrish commends EPA for trying to keep regulatory “consistency,” while a partial stay remains in place.
WOTUS greatly expanded EPA’s jurisdiction and waterbodies subject to the Clean Water Act–ditches, potholes, even farm ponds could have been classified as navigable waters, simply for having a connection to streams, rivers and other navigable waters, with failure to secure land-use permits, resulting in huge fines.
Meanwhile The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has granted EPA’s request for an additional extension of the current stay of the mandate to submit reports on the release of low levels of ammonia from poultry and egg farms.
U.S. Egg & Poultry Association and the National Pork Producers Council both had filed briefs supporting the request. The extension is granted until May 1.