The Waters of the U.S. rule is still very much a main topic in 2016. The American Farm Bureau Federation is urging members of the U.S. House of Representatives to support S.J. Res. 22, a resolution to disapprove the Waters of the U.S. rule finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers.
“The EPA rule poses a serious threat to farmers, ranchers and private landowners by permitting EPA to regulate well beyond limits authorized by Congress and affirmed by the Supreme Court,” AFBF President Bob Stallman wrote in a letter to House members.
“Simply put,” Stallman continued, “EPA’s rule significantly expands the scope of ‘navigable water’ subject to Clean Water Act jurisdiction. With that expansion comes the threat of citizen lawsuits. As a practical matter, EPA’s proposal will mean increased enforcement against farmers, greater expenses for permitting, potential delays in managing agricultural operations and the unquestioned exposure of legal liability attendant with lawsuits from activists.”
Stallman also pointed out that EPA unlawfully manipulated the rulemaking process through an unprecedented marketing campaign designed to generate public support and discredit anyone who had serious concerns, as well as hoping to influence Congress.
“GAO’s recently issued opinion states unequivocally that EPA violated the law,” Stallman wrote. The GAO opinion came on the heels of a judgment by the Small Business Office of Advocacy that the agency had violated its obligations under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act.