Tuesday, August 8, 2017

EPA administrator Pruitt discusses plan to scrap WOTUS

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt discusses the "Waters of the United States" rule in the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's most recent Beltway Beef podcast.

The podcast was recorded at Frasier Ranch outside Last Chance, Colo., where Pruitt received input from local ranchers about the controversial rule.

You can listen to the podcast here.

As the California Cattlemen's Association recently reported in its legislative bulletin:
On July 27, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) formally released a proposed rule to rescind the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule, which threatened to greatly extend the agencies' regulatory jurisdiction and impose burdensome regulatory requirements upon ranchers and other landowners.

CCA strongly supports the proposal to rescind the 2015 Rule, and will file formal comments to that effect with the EPA prior to the August 28 deadline. Ranchers are encouraged to file comments supporting the 2015 Rule's withdrawal by clicking the "Comment Now!" button here. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association has provided sample comments here.

The move to rescind the 2015 WOTUS Rule comes after President Trump's February 28 Executive Order directing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to rescind the rule and replace it with a definition of "Waters of the United States" that conforms to the more limited interpretation outlined by late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in Rapanos v. United States. Rescinding the 2015 Rule is the first step in that process; once the 2015 Rule is repealed, the EPA will likely give notice of a proposed rulemaking establishing a more limited interpretation of WOTUS.

In the interim, the proposed rulemaking seeks to re-codify the definition of WOTUS that existed prior to the 2015 re-definition. Because the 2015 WOTUS Rule was stayed from implementation and enforcement by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in October 2015 in response to numerous lawsuits (including one filed by CCA), the proposed rule would essentially codify the status quo.
In a related note, don't miss my centerpiece story later this week updating the case involving John Duarte, the farmer who was sued by the federal government after plowing his field south of Red Bluff to plant wheat. The case looms large in the debate over the WOTUS rule.

Watch for my story at CapitalPress.com.

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