Over the last couple of years, we’ve had many conversations with Colin Woodall, Director of Legislative Affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association about the Waters of the US rule. With the Trump administration, the rule appears to be dead, or dying a quick death:
“It is dying a quick death. The executive order that started the process to roll this back is one currently being implemented by the current administrator. He’s going through all the steps required in order to stop this thing.
But, we need to remind everybody that’s not the need of the discussion, because when he rolls this back, there’s still the question of what is a navigable water, and who has jurisdiction. We’ve got to come back some other proposal to answer those questions, but with this administrator we think we can do it in a way that helps protect us as land owners.”
I know there’s a lot of people that are excited to see Scott Pruitt take the helm of EPA, they felt like sanity had returned.
“Well, it’s not just that, he wants to work with us, he doesn’t’ see us as the enemy, we haven’t seen that is quite some time, under republican and democrat administrations. He has said that he wants to return a little common sense and science to this process, and that he wants to be a partner with us, because he understands what agriculture means and actually helps the environment. An example is that we had him speak to our legislative conference about 300 cattle producers from around the country, back in March, and he had two standing ovations. Now, that’s unheard of in a room full of cattle producers. I think it shows that we have a whole different attitude and mentality, now.”
Of course, the rule is under injunction at the moment, and as you said it’s dying a quick death. What do we anticipate from here?
“Well, it’s going to take probably another six months to finish killing the current WOTUS rule, but during that process he’s going to meeting with all of us as stakeholders to craft what the replacement is going to be. So, right now, that’s our focus, what determine that replacement should look like, how it treats the jurisdiction of the federal government and ultimately how we protect ourselves, so we don’t find ourselves in a similar situation in the future.”
Do you see this is an instance where the general population won over big, bad government?
“Actually, this is a great situation where the general public won over big, bad government. But, that would not have happened if the election had gone another way last November. Everybody has to keep that in mind, too. When you look at this administration and the way they’re willing to work with us right now, that probably would not have been the case had the other option been inaugurated.
“So, we are excited and still optimistic, not just what we’re doing with WOTUS, but all the other efforts to roll back, not just Obama, but all previous other administrations regulation efforts.”