Beef Buzz News
NCBA's Scott Yager Says Redefining WOTUS Will Be Repetitive
Mon, 30 Aug 2021 11:18:37 CDT
The Biden Administration is planning on repealing and replacing former President Donald Trump’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which in itself was a redefinition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule within the Clean Waters Act, put forth by former President Barack Obama.
Listen to Ron's conversation with Scott here
With all this back and forth, Scott Yager, chief environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, told Ron Hays the revisiting of this legislation feels repetitive.
“It’s like Groundhog Day - the Bill Murray movie,” Yager said.
Eight months into the new presidency, Yager said the NCBA is beginning to see how the Biden administration is going to move forward. In June, the EPA and Department of the Army announced their intention to revise the definition of WOTUS to better protect the nation’s water resources.
“Before they officially propose a rule-making, they are going to do a very robust outreach process,” Yager said. “There’s a number of listening sessions that will be followed by regional roundtables throughout the country, where again, they’re soliciting input and feedback from farmers, ranchers and regulated industry about this issue.”
Yager said depending on where you are in the country dictates your perspective on what should be considered protected waters.
“(In) California you got things like vernal pools, Texas you got playa lakes, Dakotas you got prairie potholes,” Yager said. “So, these different regional water features that (the EPA) needs to be aware of and account for.”
At the same time, the EPA needs to be aware of how the cattle industry interacts with water features, Yager said. For example, cattle producers may use stock ponds to water cattle and Yager said it is important that bodies of water like those are not regulated as a WOTUS.
“That was a great thing about the Trump rule,” Yager said. “It had very clear and robust exclusions for agriculture.”
Yager said as he gears up for another push to redefine WOTUS, the pressure to be at the table and be heard is on.
“It’s a long fight and there are lots of pieces to it,” Yager said.
To avoid a WOTUS rewrite that would be detrimental to the U.S. cattle industry, Yager said it is extremely important for state affiliates and grassroots produces to engage in the legislative process.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from Scott Yager as he talks with Ron Hays on this issue.
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