WOTUS is Back in 26 States – Misguided S.C. Federal Court

Farm Bureau & ag coalition notified federal court in S.C. they will appeal that court’s ruling that revived WOTUS Rule in 26 states. We urge Texas-based court to issue a nationwide injunction against the illegal 2015 WOTUS Rule. 

The American Farm Bureau Federation and a broad coalition of business organizations have notified the federal district court in South Carolina they will appeal that court’s Aug. 16 ruling that revived the 2015 Waters of the United States Rule and made it the law of the land in 26 states. In a separate filing, the same coalition also notified a federal district court in Texas of the ruling by the court in South Carolina, urging the Texas-based court to issue a nationwide injunction against the illegal 2015 WOTUS Rule.

The U.S. District Court in South Carolina ruled against the Trump administration on 8/16/18 for delaying the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule. The decision means the rule is operative again in 26 states where district courts haven’t halted the regulation.

The ruling ends the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ suspension of clean water protections under the Clean Water Act. The ruling does not apply to 24 states where other legal challenges are pending.

The American Farm Bureau Federation called the ruling “misguided” and the WOTUS rule itself “overbroad, vague and illegal.” 

““To avoid widespread uncertainty and potential enforcement against ordinary farming activities in these already-uncertain times, we call on the administration to take immediate steps to limit the impact of this dangerous court decision,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “The U.S. District Court for South Carolina was wrong to invalidate the agency’s ‘applicability rule’ that had simply delayed the effective date of the 2015 WOTUS rule. The delay rule would have maintained regulatory certainty and stability while the administration completes its reconsideration of the 2015 rule and works to develop a new regulation to provide both clean water and clear rules. Today’s court ruling creates enormous regulatory uncertainty and risk for farmers, ranchers and others in the 26 states that are not already protected from the unlawful 2015 rule by previous court decisions.”

Matt Westendorf – The Bigger Picture

Westendorf knows members are busy, and it’s easy to find excuses not to attend a meeting. But he says that when we step away from our day-to-day work, important things happen.

“Your mind clears, you hear what the industry is doing, you hear what your suppliers are doing, and it just gives you a broad approach and a bigger picture. I always talk about getting at a higher elevation, and that’s what the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association does for you.”