NCBA Environmental Counsel Scott Yager Says WOTUS Fight Likely Headed for the Supreme CourtTue, 28 Aug 2018 10:22:28 CDT
Once you have something like the Waters of the US rule on the books, it is hard to get rid of it. That is what the Trump Administration has discovered as they have worked to scrap the Obama era rule. Scott Pruitt started the process before he resigned as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, but along the way, environmental groups have worked to stop the repeal of the rule and they have recently succeeded temporarily with a ruling from a South Carolina District Court that has put WOTUS back into play in 26 states, including Oklahoma and Texas. Scott Yager is chief environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and says this kind of legal back-and-forth should be expected to continue as the Administration works to kill WOTUS once and for all.
“Everyone thought WOTUS was dead, but the reality was, Trump’s executive order from 2017 didn’t kill WOTUS outright. What it did was set the wheels rolling towards the death of WOTUS,” he explained. “But the reality we’re sitting in today is that that hasn’t happened yet and it has to be done by the agencies.”
According to Yager, both the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers will have to finalize their repeal of the 2015 rule in order to move this process along. Until that happens, the 2015 WOTUS rule will remain on the books- at least for those 26 states affected by the South Carolina Court ruling. In the meantime, many states are appealing to other District Courts to stay the decision. Yager says if this case is ever going to be put to bed, the agencies involved will have to take the issue upon themselves because Congress has been of no help, unable to pass a bill fixing the problem due to staunch Democratic opposition. However, he says be prepared for the environmental groups to obstruct the process every step of the way.
“Every piece of this is going to be litigated by the environmental groups. As soon as the Administration finalizes their repeal, there’s going to be lawsuits all over that,” he said. “Ultimately, I believe this issue is going to be decided by a Supreme Court. Hopefully one that has Kavanaugh on the bench.”
Listen to Yager discuss the current status of the Administration’s effort to repeal and replace WOTUS, with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, on today’s Beef Buzz.
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.
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