NCBA, PLC further cattle priorities


By Carol Ryan Dumas, Capital Press

Jun 25, 2020


BURLEY, Idaho — While the coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench into the workings of Congress and federal agencies this year, there’s been a good deal of progress on issues affecting cattle producers.


The big win was EPA’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule that went into effect on Monday, Kaitlynn Glover, executive director of the Public Lands Council and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association natural resources, said during the Idaho Cattle Association summer meeting on Monday.


The rule replaces the contentious 2015 Waters of the United States rule, known as WOTUS, providing clarity on which waters are regulated and maintaining important exemptions for agriculture.


On Friday, a federal judge for the Northern District of California denied a motion for a national preliminary injunction. A federal judge in Colorado, however, stayed implementation there.


“Now it is the law of the land, except in Colorado,” she said.


In other areas, the White House Council on Environmental Policy earlier this year proposed revisions to the environmental assessment process under the National Environmental Policy Act.


Those assessments affect federal land management and haven’t been substantively amended in 40 years. The revisions seek to make the process timely, efficient and targeted and are now under review at the Office of Management and Budget, she said.


“It’s been very clear this has been one of President Trump’s priorities,” she said.


Progress was also seen at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, she said. In early June, the agency released a draft document that would put into statute a 2017 opinion by the Department of Interior Solicitor’s Office that civil and criminal penalties only applied to intentional injury to birds listed in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.


If birds are disturbed or injured during otherwise lawful activity, those penalties would not apply, she said.


“Those penalties were a huge burden and a huge threat to those who operate where migratory birds existed,” she said.


There is also movement at BLM on updating grazing rules...