WOTUS War Nearly Won as Rule's Final Repeal Expected to be Made Official This August
Oklahoma Farm Report
06 Aug 2019
Scott Yager, chief environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, has been following the repeal process of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS), which has been years in the making. Yager says as far as the Obama-era WOTUS rule is concerned, though, it is very near its end. At present, the rule’s repeal paperwork is being reviewed by the White House’s Office of Management & Budget where it is expected to be advanced sometime this month.
“When that comes back to the EPA, Administrator Andrew Wheeler will sign it, it’s then official and that kills the 2015 rule and gets it off the books officially,” Yager explained. “If that wasn’t enough, our lawsuit in Texas got a good decision about a month ago and the judge there said that the WOTUS rule was illegal and remanded it back the EPA. So, we’ve got multiple layers here of fixes that prevent it from ever coming back into play.”
Add to that yet another layer in the form of a bill introduced last week by Senators Joni Ernst of Iowa and Mike Braun of Indiana, the Define WOTUS Act, which will codify a definition of the Waters of the U.S. Rule and reassert Congressional authority to define the term. Yager says this bill aligns many of the concepts that NCBA has supported as means to improve the rule. Yager adds that once the repeal is made final, it is likely following that before the year’s end that the Administration will put forward a replacement WOTUS rule. The early drafts of this rule are a significant improvement from the previous version implemented by the Obama Environmental Protection Agency, Yager asserts, but says he is hopeful that the Administration will be open to even further improvements that will guarantee the least regulatory burden on landowners as possible. However, he says the process is likely to drag out with the imminent wave of litigation that without a doubt will be levied by detractors...
more, including audio [6:10 min.]