WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. —The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on Oct. 9 stayed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule nationwide, pending further review by the court.
Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association and a farmer from Newburg, Maryland, U.S., issued the following statement:
“Today’s decision is great news for America’s farmers and ranchers. WOTUS was supposed to make things clearer for farmers about their responsibilities under the Clean Water Act. This rule is anything but clear. We are confident that the courts will eventually strike down EPA’s WOTUS rule altogether. The Army Corps of Engineers has already said the rule is not based on science or law and is unlikely to withstand a legal challenge.
“But court battles take months, if not years – and come at a considerable cost. There has to be a better way for us to work together on a rule that is successful and lawful. That’s why we are asking the Senate to step up and pass S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act. This law would stop WOTUS and give the EPA, the Army Corps, farmers, and other stakeholders the chance to work together on a better rule that we can all support.
“Clean water is important to us all. NCGA is committed to working with these agencies and other stakeholders to protect America’s water resources.”
The American Soybean Association (ASA) said it welcomed the ruling and noted that the federal court used the same argument advanced by the nation’s soybean growers — the misapplication of the rule’s significant nexus test, or how connected a body of water in question is to a body of water under Clean Water Act jurisdiction — as a key reason for its decision. ASA President Wade Cowan, a soybean farmer from Brownfield, Texas, commended the court for its decision and called on EPA to pull the rule and commit to working with farmers on more practical ways to meet the nation’s water quality goals.
“Moving forward, we propose that EPA abandon the rule as written and start over with farmers at the table,” Cowan said. “Find out what we’re doing on our farms and at the state and regional levels in watersheds like the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake and the Mississippi, and craft a rule that covers what we don’t. Let’s put something in place—together—to improve water quality nationwide.”