NCBA says on its “Beltway Beef” podcast, its anti-WOTUS coalition is not giving up its fight in the wake of a Texas federal court’s decision allowing the Biden rule to take effect in 48 states, and dismisses EPA’s defense of the rule’s timing.
NCBA Chief Counsel Mary Thomas Hart says National Cattlemen and its 14-member coalition is pursuing another case against the Biden WOTUS rule involving North Dakota that could affect 25-states.
Hart dismisses EPA Chief Michael Regan’s claim at a recent Senate hearing, EPA had to finalize WOTUS in December ahead of a Supreme Court decision, to remove rule uncertainty.
“I think that Administrator Regan was incredibly ambitious in attempting to finalize this rule before hearing from the Supreme Court. I believe he said in that oversight hearing that EPA should be able to ‘walk and chew gum at the same time.’”
Regan claimed EPA can quickly adjust the limited part of its rule should the Supreme Court redefine the ‘significant nexus test’ for a water of the U.S.
Hart argues that a change by the High Court would invalidate the entire rule; “There’s a real chance that you are wasting government resources, writing a rule that’s going to have to be overturned. And so, I think that’s why NCBA and a lot of other groups asked the EPA to pause its rulemaking, until we heard from the Supreme Court in the Sackett case.”
Hart suggests EPA is being overzealous in pursuing Clean Water Act jurisdiction.
“We are very concerned with the fact that EPA sees it necessary to finalize a rule, kind of, flying in the face of the Supreme Court, and that’s an argument that we’ve made to federal courts across the country.”
Hart credits EPA with giving agriculture some WOTUS exemptions but faulting it for not exempting intermittently wet or remote other features. And she says producers should get technical advice on projects until the Supreme Court rules.