Court Ruling Keeps Navigable Waters, For Now

A federal court in South Carolina recently dismissed a challenge to the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which was crafted to replace the Obama era WOTUS rule. The American Farm Bureau Federation said that court decision gives producers some regulatory certainty, until the Biden EPA finalizes their new rule, a process that could take months. Until then the Trump era Navigable Waters Protection Rule will stick around. While good news, the AFBF’s Don Parrish said farm country is still concerned.

“If they move back in the direction to remove clarity, from what constitutes a Water of the United States, then I think you’re going to have to have farmers going to the Corps and EPA, and asking for permission, every time they put a plow in the ground.”

Parrish predicted the issue of government regulation of isolated and temporary water features on private land will be tested in the nation’s highest court, which he said is now a more conservative bench.

“There’s not a 5-4 Supreme Court make up now, it’s a 6-3. So, anything they do to try to push the constitutional or statutory limits of the Clean Water Act, is ultimately going to be heard at the Supreme Court.”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has also weighed in on the latest court ruling, opposing expanded federal wetlands jurisdiction on private ranchland.

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