American Farm Bureau, Coalition Seek Reprieve from Order Reviving Flawed WOTUS Rule

WOTUS 2On behalf of America’s farmers and ranchers, the American Farm Bureau Federation on Monday asked a federal district court in South Carolina to stay its order striking a rule that delayed implementation of the flawed 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule. Without a stay, the court order has the effect of immediately reviving and implementing the controversial WOTUS rule in 26 states. The 2015 rule has been blocked by other court orders in the remaining 24 states.

AFBF and a broad coalition of industry groups asked the U.S. District Court of South Carolina to delay implementation of its Aug. 16 order while the groups appeal the court’s decision.

According to Monday’s filing, the court’s decision to strike the delay rule harms the public interest “because the 2015 WOTUS rule was promulgated in violation of [procedural requirements], is incon­sistent with the text of the [Clean Water Act], and is unconstitutional—as every court to consider the issue has concluded.”

The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers issued the delay rule to provide regulatory stability and consistency while the agencies consider whether to repeal the WOTUS rule.

AFBF and the coalition warn of the “patchwork regulatory regime” created by allowing implementation of the WOTUS rule in about half the nation.

“Enormously consequential national regula­tions like the WOTUS rule—which subject commonplace activities involved in building, farming, and pest management to a complex and burdensome federal permitting and enforcement scheme—should not apply differently depending on whether the activity happens to be located on one side of a state line or the other.”

The groups will seek a stay from the federal appellate court if the district court denies the request.

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