Farm Progress

Industry groups look to kill WOTUS for good

EPA plans to release new rule by September.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

June 29, 2023

1 Min Read
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A coalition of more than 18 trade associations is asking a Texas federal court judge to throw out what is left of the Biden administration’s Waters of the United States rule. This is the second time they have made this request.

On March 20, U.S. Southern District Court Judge Jeffrey Vincent Brown issued an injunction that stopped WOTUS from going into effect in Texas and Idaho. The two states argued they should not be forced to comply with a rule unlikely to withstand judicial scrutiny. While Brown agreed with their position, he did not issue a nationwide injunction as the trade associations had hoped.

Now that the Supreme Court invalidated parts of the WOTUS rule in the Sackett v. EPA case, the trade associations hope to get a different result. In their June 28 motion for summary judgement, they say landowners and producers are at continued risk of criminal and civil penalties for ordinary use of their property. The associations contend that, given the fundamental flaws of the current rule, it should be completely vacated in favor of a new rule.

Among the groups signing on to the lawsuit are the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Pork Producers Council and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association.

“A full rewrite of the Biden Administration’s WOTUS definition is the only path to comply with the Sackett decision,” National Cattleman’s Beef Association Chief Council Mary-Thomas Hart says. “NCBA is seeking summary judgement in our lawsuit against the Biden WOTUS rule and urging the Southern District of Texas to strike the rule from the books.”

EPA officials say they plan to release a new WOTUS rule by Sept. 1.

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About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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