NCBA welcomes recent ruling on the Navigable Waters Protection Rule


NCBA welcomes recent ruling on the Navigable Waters Protection Rule

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the recent US District Court ruling ensuring the Navigable Waters Protection Rule will remain in place is good news for agriculture.  The South Carolina court dismissed a challenge to the NWPR and granted a remand without vacatur.

Scott Yager is chief environmental counsel for NCBA.  “That is a reprieve, right? Because the alternative would be the Trump rule goes away immediately and we’re going back to the preexisting rules and regulations,” he says.  “But I will say, on the 2015 rule front we’re never going back to that.  Because we successfully challenged the 2015 rule and got it struck down in two different federal courts.”

And, Yager says, courts across the country continue to hold up the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.  “There has been no court in this country that has said the NWPR is illegal,” he says.  “And it’s not for lack of trying on behalf of the activist groups.  They cherry-picked venues that they thought would be favorable to them and even in the face of that, these judges and these courts across the country to date have not ruled against the Trump rule.”

EPA officials plan to hold listening sessions and a series of regional roundtables to gather input on the new definition.  He tells Brownfield ag groups will need to be engaged in the rule-making process as the Biden administration works to finalize its new rule.  “Make our voice heard to the decision-makers at EPA,” he says.  “But not only the EPA, the Congress, and the Courts.  We’ll keep doing that, but it’s also really important to continue to have our producers engaged at the grassroots level and to file comments when the time comes.”

Yager says the ruling ensures regulatory certainty while the administration moves through the lengthy rulemaking process.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt wrote a letter to the EPA in June with support from Missouri Cattlemen’s opposing the rule’s reconsideration. MCA President Patty Wood says the Navigable Waters Protection Rule protects landowners from ‘pervasive’ invasions of private property rights by the EPA.  

AUDIO: Scott Yager, NCBA