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Beef Buzz News


WOTUS Revision Could Include Big-Ticket Climate Change Policy from Biden Administration

Thu, 20 Jan 2022 10:40:39 CST

WOTUS Revision Could Include Big-Ticket Climate Change Policy from Biden Administration The Environmental Protection Agency’s federal advisory committee recently turned in a definition revision recommendation for redefining “Waters of the United States.” Scott Yager, the chief environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said the advisory committee did a great job of putting together very specific and informative policy recommendations for EPA Administrator Michael Regan. Now, the definition revision recommendations are open for public comments until Feb. 7.

“The Biden-Harris administration laid out a two-step process, much like the Trump Administration did,” Yager said. “Today, we are in the middle of step one. Basically, they are reverting back to the ’86 regulations which are what some folks call the pre-2015 regulations.”

The EPA’s proposal sets the foundation for the Biden-Harris administration’s definition of WOTUS, according to Yager. In addition to adopting old WOTUS rules, Yager said the proposal includes interpretations of two key Supreme Court decisions: Rapanos vs. U.S. and Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County vs. U.S.

The NCBA has asked the EPA to extend the public comment period. At the same time, NCBA has written a letter to EPA Administrator Regan, urging him to ensure that any definition of WOTUS provides necessary clarity for livestock producers and does not exceed the statutory limits of the Clean Water Act. You can sign that letter here.

“Everybody in the barnyard has banded together to make that (extension) request,” Yager said. “If they do not grant that extension, that means the (public) comment period closes Feb. 7 and they will finalize the rule sometime after that. Then they will (begin) step two of the (WOTUS) rulemaking.”

Yager said he is not sure what step two of the new rulemaking will look like but speculates it will include some big-ticket items from the Biden-Harris administration's campaign platform.

“They are going to take a moonshot at some of these items like climate change, environmental justice and the like,” Yager said.

While the savvy definition revision recommendations made by the EPA advisory committee may feel like a victory for the agriculture industry, it does not guarantee anything. Yager said he is not optimistic about the overall change but hopes the changes will be something agricultural producers can live with.

Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from Ron Hays and Scott Yager as they talk about the ever-changing WOTUS rules. If you missed yesterday’s conversation on this topic with Yager, check it out here.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.

   


   

Listen to Ron's conversation with Scott here.
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