WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association called on the Environmental Protection Agency to pause their “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule-making following the recent Supreme Court oral arguments in the case Sackett v. EPA, a case that will determine the EPA’s authority to regulate bodies of water under the Clean Water Act.
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“Today’s oral arguments highlighted the need for the Supreme Court to put this issue to bed once and for all. Since the passage of the Clean Water Act, cattle producers have experienced the regulatory whiplash of shifting WOTUS definitions — on average, a change every 3.8 years,” NCBA Natural Resources and Public Lands Council Executive Director Kaitlynn Glover said in a news release. “NCBA is hopeful that the court will support NCBA’s argument for clear and limited WOTUS definition, but in the meantime, we call on the EPA to suspend their rule-making until the outcome of the case is clear.”
In February, over 1,600 cattle producers from 44 states submitted a letter to the EPA calling for a limited WOTUS definition that retained exclusions for common small water features found on farms and ranches. The Kansas Livestock Association, an NCBA affiliate, also organized an EPA roundtable where cattle producers highlighted their concerns with an expansive WOTUS rule.
NCBA also backed a report from the EPA’s own Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Advisory Committee that recommended the EPA develop a clear WOTUS definition, protect WOTUS exclusions of agricultural features like farm ditches, stock ponds, prairie potholes, and prior converted cropland, and ensure EPA compliance with the Clean Water Act and Supreme Court precedent