The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether jurisdiction rests with the federal district or appellate courts to hear a lawsuit brought by several agricultural organizations, businesses and municipalities against the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, a Clean Water Act rule that would give the government broad jurisdiction over land and water.
“The WOTUS rule is vague, overbroad and fails to let regulated parties know when their conduct violates the law,” said National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President John Weber, a pork producer from Dysart, Iowa. “We all want clean water, but this regulation is a big land grab that promotes growth of government and allows activists to extort and micromanage all kinds of farming and business activities.”
“The Supreme Court’s decision to hear our appeal is a victory for America’s cattle producers and all private property owners across the country,” said Scott Yager, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) environmental counsel. “It shows that the Court has a continued interest in private property rights and we look forward to oral arguments this spring.”
In a brief to the appellate court, the agricultural groups stated that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Corps of Engineers failed to reopen the public comment period after making fundamental changes to the proposed rule and withheld until after the comment period closed the scientific report on which the rule rested. The groups believe that the agencies also refused to conduct required economic and environmental analyses, engaged in a propaganda campaign to promote the rule and rebuke its critics and illegally lobbied against congressional efforts to stop implementation of the rule.