Federal court reinstates clean water rule delayed by Trump administration

19 Août, 2018, 23:16 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Federal judge blocks Trump administration's attempt to rescind Obama-era clean water protections

Just when farmers thought they had some time for the Trump Administration to save the day and fix the Obama-written Waters of the us rule, a SC judge comes in and said the government didn't follow the proper administrative rules.

OH will join 25 other states that accept the Obama era 2015 ruling.

A federal judge in SC has issued an injunction to block the Trump administration's move to delay a clean water rule meant to prevent pollution from being released into bodies of water like creeks, lakes and streams.

In the meantime, the Trump Administration began working toward the eventual repeal of the WOTUS rule, and its replacement with a less expansive definition that would constrain federal regulatory authority. "Water is a way of life in the South, where clean water is the lifeblood of our economy".

The suspension rule was put in place to give the new Administration time to repeal and re-propose a more workable definition.

The court agreed that the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers violated the Administrative Procedure Act by refusing to solicit or consider public comments on the change ordered in February.

The decision in the U.S. District Court for the District of SC means the Clean Water Rule is now the law of the land in 26 states where district court judges have not stayed the regulation.

According to the EPA, the proposed WOTUS definition would include all territorial seas, interstate waters and wetlands and all waters that are now being used - or which were used in the past or which may be susceptible for use in interstate or foreign commerce - including all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide. "But the requirements of the APA remain the same".

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On this basis the court issued a nationwide injunction against the suspension rule.

The injunction applies and the rule is now law in 26 states, but the ruling does not apply to 24 states where other legal challenges are pending.

Scott Yager, chief environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, said the ruling "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".

He said the ruling "creates enormous regulatory uncertainty and risk for farmers, ranchers and others in the 26 states that are not already protected from the unlawful 2015 rule by previous court decisions". "NCBA will continue to fight in the courts and in Congress to kill the 2015 WOTUS rule once and for all".

Confusion and uncertainty are just two reasons why many in agricultural circles are hoping the Trump Administration will hurry up with its rule rewrite.

Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, called on the agencies to "take immediate steps to limit the impact of this unsafe court decision". "The administration is trying to move quickly to remove this protection that was crafted over years with a lot of scientific input and public input".

The American Farm Bureau Federation has a completely different take, calling the ruling "misguided" and the WOTUS rule itself "overbroad, vague and illegal".

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