State attorneys general challenge updated WOTUS rule
Twenty-four state attorneys general, including Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota, say the rule goes beyond the power Congress delegated in the Clean Water Act and raises serious constitutional concerns.
Missouri Farm Bureau President Garrett Hawkins says this is a repeat of what happened during the Obama administration.
“Honestly, that’s what needs to happen. When we see federal agencies overstep their bounds, it is important not only agriculture and allied partners stand up, but we need people in elected positions to stand up and fight this in court.”
After being sworn into office in January, Missouri’s Attorney General Andrew Bailey met with state agriculture groups to get their feedback on the issue. Hawkins says it was good to be at the table and have support, but it may take Congressional action to put the current rule on hold until the Supreme Court rules on a WOTUS case later this year.
“We need Congress to come in and do what wasn’t done in 1972 and that’s draw the bright line so it’s very clear where federal jurisdiction ends and where state and local jurisdiction begin.”
EPA Administrator Michael Regan recently told Brownfield the release of the administration’s WOTUS rule happened before the ruling on Sackett vs. EPA because there are aspects of the rule the agency wanted to get on record for agriculture. Hawkins says he still thinks EPA should have waited until the Supreme Court provided clarity.
“The reality is the Sacketts have been battling the agencies for a decade. If you think about what’s happened in the last decade alone, we’ve seen this ping pong between the administrations taking different approaches with WOTUS.”
The American Farm Bureau Federation, along with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Pork Producers Council, Texas Farm Bureau, and the Public Lands Council filed a separate WOTUS lawsuit in January.