Milk Producers Join the Farm Group Chorus Calling on EPA to Hold Off Implementation of WOTUSMon, 31 Aug 2015 16:09:24 CDT
The National Milk Producers Federation urged the Obama Administration to hold off on the national enforcement of the new Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) regulation, in response to a court decision last week suspending the regulation in some states, but not others.
Last Thursday the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota halted implementation of the water regulation, granting a temporary injunction in favor of 13 states that brought suit in North Dakota against the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Army Corps of Engineers. The EPA said after the court ruling that it would not implement the rule in the 13 states that were part of the suit: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
In light of the potential for confusion and inconsistent application of the regulation following the court’s ruling, NMPF said in a letter sent Monday to the EPA and the Army that the government should suspend enforcement of the WOTUS nationwide.
“The EPA implementation schedule for the Clean Water Rule now treats dairy farmers differently nationwide, and clearly falls short of the EPA’s goals of ‘greater clarity, consistency, and predictability when making jurisdictional determinations,’” NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern said in the letter. “Therefore, we ask that EPA and the Corp of Engineers use their enforcement discretion and cease application of the recent WOTUS rule in all 50 states, until such time as it can be evenly applied in every state.”
NMPF submitted comments on the proposed rule to the EPA and Corps of Engineers in November 2014, outlining its concerns with the lack of clarity and certainty for dairy farmers should the rule proceed. The final rule “left many of our concerns unresolved,” NMPF wrote today, although the organization had been hoping to work with EPA to address those concerns going forward. CLick here to read the full letter submitted by NMPF.
“The opinion last Thursday by Judge Ralph Erickson brought forth many of the same concerns we relayed in our comments last November and should be taken seriously,” NMPF wrote.
NMPF’s letter today said that the organization and its members “are committed to protecting U.S. waterways through voluntary efforts, as well as through regulatory compliance with the Clean Water Act (CWA). Clean water is central to healthy ecosystems, secure water supplies for human and animal consumption, and to the production of milk and other dairy products. We are committed to working with the EPA and COE to find effective ways to achieve these important goals.”
Several other lawsuits against the EPA, from other states and also from farm and business groups, are still pending.
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