The proposed revision to the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) definition is continuing to draw comments from the agricultural industry. Many farming groups have voiced concern regarding the WOTUS rulemaking process. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are consistently being engaged by industry members on the impact that proposed changes will have on farmers.
“Unfortunately, the proposed rule will return us to the ambiguity of past regulation as well as the federal overreach that ignored the role and expertise of state partners,” National Association of State Departments of Agriculture CEO Ted McKinney said in a press release. “This is unacceptable, and NASDA urges the EPA and the Corps to reconsider the clarity and the undeniably appropriate level of protection offered by the Navigable Waters Protection Rule and move to reinstate this regulatory structure through a process that will withstand procedural complaints in the courts.”
Comments submitted by groups such as American Agri-Women and the National Farmers Union have highlighted uncertainties that would be created under the proposed changes to WOTUS. Many farm groups have encouraged the incorporation of aspects of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule in the current WOTUS rulemaking process. Further complicating the issue is a pending Supreme Court case pertaining to how WOTUS is to be defined. Lawmakers and industry groups alike have urged EPA and the Corps to postpone any changes to WOTUS until a decision is issued by the Supreme Court.
“TFI recommends the agencies withdraw the Proposed Rule because it impermissibly strips the term “navigation” of any meaning. The NWPR’s definition should be used as the foundation for a durable definition,” said Corey Rosenbusch, President and CEO of The Fertilizer Institute. “And if the Proposed Rule is not withdrawn, at a minimum they should pause the current rulemaking effort until the Supreme Court rules on which test is most appropriate for determining the definition.”