More than a dozen farm groups have joined together to file a lawsuit to vacate a new Clean Water Act (CWA) regulation, better known as the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule.
The National Pork Producers Council says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have overstepped their bounds with the rule with an unconstitutional rule.
“The final rule is vague and fails to let regulated parties know when their conduct violates the law,” said NPPC President Dr. Ron Prestage, a veterinarian and pork producer from Camden, S.C. “We’re asking the court to find the rule arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with law; and to find that it’s unlawful because it’s contrary to constitutional rights and powers, inconsistent with the agencies’ statutory authority under the CWA and was promulgated without following procedures required by law. The bottom line is we want the court to set aside the rule.
“We all want clean water,” Prestage said, “but this rule isn’t about clean water, it’s about EPA and the Corps taking over private property, growing the size of government and micromanaging hundreds of farming and business activities.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Public Lands Council, also a part of the lawsuit, expressed similar concerns.
“The WOTUS rule remains a top priority for our producers and for all landowners nationwide,” said Philip Ellis, NCBA president and Chugwater, Wyo., cattleman. “While cattlemen have long asked for greater clarity around the Clean Water Act, this rule does the opposite, rendering jurisdictional determinations so vague and subjective that our members cannot possibly make a determination as to what basic ranching activities will subject them to criminal and civil penalties under the Clean Water Act. We remain committed to working with the administration, Congress and through the courts to stop this rule.”
The American Farm Bureau Federation, American Petroleum Institute, American Road and Transportation Builders, Leading Builders of America, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Manufacturers, National Corn Growers Association, and National Mining Association have also joined in the lawsuit.