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Ag coalition to appeal revived 2015 WOTUS rule

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The American Farm Bureau Federation and others will appeal a South Carolina federal district court’s recent ruling that revived the overbroad, vague, and illegal 2015 Waters of the United States Rule and made it the law of the land in 26 states. In a separate filing, the broad coalition of business organizations 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.

Two other federal district courts have already granted injunctions blocking the WOTUS Rule in a total of 24 states, citing immediate and “irreparable injuries” likely to result from the rule’s implementation.

“That is all the more true for the plaintiffs before this (Southern Texas) Court,” the notice stated. “Allowing the WOTUS Rule to come into effect in 26 States will prove enormously dis­ruptive to their operations, and indeed to the entire national economy.”

The group says the decision out of South Carolina purports to block nationwide an Environmental Protection Agency rule that delayed application of the WOTUS Rule pending the agency’s ongoing consideration of whether to repeal the rule. As a result of the court decision, the 2015 WOTUS Rule is now the law of the land in the 26 states that are not already protected by court injunctions preventing the rule’s implementation while its lawfulness is decided by the courts.

Farmers, ranchers, and others in those 26 states are now faced with “immediate irreparable harm,” according to the Southern Texas filing. “Important and consequential national regula­tions like the WOTUS Rule should not apply differently depending on the happenstance of location.” The groups urge the court not to allow a “crazy-quilt regulatory environment” and to grant a nationwide injunction against the 2015 WOTUS Rule “as expeditiously as possible.”

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Chief Environmental Counsel Scott Yager issued the following statement in response to the South Carolina District Court injunction of the Waters of the United States Applicability Date Rule:

“Today’s ruling underscores the urgent need to finalize the repeal of the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The South Carolina court has effectively brought WOTUS back from the dead in 26 states, creating a zombie version of the 2015 rule that threatens the rights of farmers and ranchers across the country. NCBA will continue to fight in the courts and in Congress to kill the 2015 WOTUS rule once and for all.”

Tags: Agriculture News, Farming News, Environment
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