WASHINGTON (Nov. 3, 2015) – Today the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Public Lands Council sent a letter urging the Senate to vote for S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act. This bipartisan legislation would direct the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the current “waters of the United States” rule and immediately work with all stakeholders to draft a rule that would bring clarity to the Clean Water Act without usurping state and private water rights. NCBA President and Chugwater, Wyo., cattleman Philip Ellis said this legislation is the best option for ensuring the rights of producers are recognized.
“The WOTUS rule is the most burdensome and far reaching piece of regulation we have ever seen, touching almost every producer and leaving a path of regulatory uncertainty,” said Ellis. “While cattlemen and women continue in litigation with the agencies over this regulation, the Senate has the opportunity to step in and withdraw this disastrous rule. Action by the Senate now will save cattle producers and states millions of dollars in legal fees and years in litigation.”
Currently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has temporarily stayed implementation of the WOTUS rule across the country until they can determine jurisdiction. In granting the stay, the Court found that the WOTUS rule may violate established law on the extent of the Clean Water Act. Moreover, the Court cited the flawed rulemaking process used by the EPA and the arbitrary nature of the limits set in the rule.
“The preliminary court rulings in this case show that cattle producers are likely to succeed in their case and point to EPA’s failed rulemaking process,” said Ellis. “With the doubt cast by the Court, added to the concerns expressed by the Army Corps over this rule, it is clear that a failed rule resulted from a failed process. The House acted in a bi-partisan way to withdraw this rule, and it is time for the Senate to do the same.”
NCBA and PLC support the Federal Water Quality Protection Act and will continue to pursue legislation and litigation to withdraw the WOTUS rule.