Administration asked to suspend WOTUS enforcement nationwide

By Philip Brasher

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2015 - Some producer groups are asking the Obama administration to suspend enforcement of its new Clean Water Act rule until a court case is resolved. 

The administration considers implementation of the rule blocked in only 13 states as a result of last week's decision by a North Dakota federal judge

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In a letter to the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers on Monday, the National Milk Producers Federation said that because of the ruling, dairy farmers will be treated differently nationwide depending on where they live. 

“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,” the letter said. The rule went into effect in most states on Friday.

The National Pork Producers Council on Friday also called on the administration to delay implementation of the rule nationwide.

The other 12 states are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, South Dakota and Wyoming. 

A federal judge in the Southern District of Georgia declined to block the rule's implementation in a separate case brought by another group of 11 states. The judge, Lisa Godbey Wood, said the case should have been handled in an appeals court. 

The rule re-defines the streams, ditches and wetlands fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. The North Dakota judge, Ralph R. Erickson, said in his ruling that the states are “likely to succeed on their claim” and that “greater public interest favors issuance of the preliminary injunction.” The rule went into effect in most states on Friday.

An EPA spokeswoman said that the administration was studying the court decisions “and considering next steps in the litigation.”

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