Since the Waters of the US rule has been published in the Federal Register many associations and groups are working feverishly to get it stopped before the rule goes into effect at the end of August. Ron Prestage, president of the National Pork Producers Council:
“We were hoping when the WOTUS rule was first proposed, that some sanity would kick in, and they would understand, especially from key member of Congress as well as every trade association representing members of the barnyard, that it was an extreme power grab by EPA. It was unnecessary with the current laws in place. The regulatory authority of EPA in conjunction with state regulatory agencies should be proud of the record of environmental improvement by livestock and poultry producers. But those messages went on deaf ears or they were told to ignore them. So when they came out and published the rule, we felt like we had no choice but to join with others in filing the lawsuit to try to stop the rule from being enacted into law.”
Prestage is referring to a lawsuit in which National Pork Producers, National Cattlemen’s and others are plaintiffs that was filed in Texas late last week.
Prestage goes on to say that it appears that the majority of congress members agree with the ag groups and others party to the lawsuit:
“The good news is, I think the majority of the members of Congress recognize that this is unnecessary. We are disappointed that they don’t need to go forward, but we are not prepared to concede that they have the authority to require permits and increase the red tape in animal and poultry agriculture.”
The goal of the lawsuit is an injunction on the rule before it goes into effect in late August says Prestage:
“We are optimistic that we will get one. The Constitution gives certain powers to the states versus the Federal Government. Animal and poultry agriculture have always been regulated primarily at the state level with compliance with Federal law. The power for permitting farming operations has always resided with the states and this appears to us as an effort for that to be taken up another level to the Federal level.”
And, arguably, there’s no other industry than the ag industry that does a better job of taking care of their natural resources than agriculture, and Prestage says few have come as far as the pork producers:
“If you look at the facts, and look at the unbelievable improvements though the embracing of technology, education, recognizing the importance of employing certain practices on the farm, the conservation of preserving and protecting water quality. The advancements by pork producers over the last few decades have been incredible. That is why its disappointing they feel the need to go forward on this. The track record of pork producers is pretty impressive.”
South Carolina pork producer and president of the National Pork Producers Council, Ron Prestage.