WOTUS

(Kristina) So, it’s really great to be traveling this week in Kansas. So, another topic of interest to NCBA’s membership, and cattle producers and land owners throughout the country for the month of August, has been the final rule out of the Environmental Protection Agency known as WOTUS, Waters of the U.S. So, this is the rule that we’ve been talking about for years. It would actually expand the jurisdiction of EPA’s jurisdictional reach from a regulatory standpoint over what is navigable waters. So what would have to be required to receive a permit in order to be able to use those waters on your own private property. So, NCBA has been adamantly against the proposed rule, which unfortunately is now final and goes into effect the end of August. So, what we’ve been doing in Washington is actually pushing for legislation in the House and the Senate that would completely repeal the final rule as it stands right now. We’re happy to report that this legislation was reported favorably out of the House by a very large vote. We’ve now turned our focus to the Senate for the month of August, really kind of targeting certain Senators that come from a large land or a large agricultural or land use state to allow them to realize how important it is to push back against the EPA’s final rule moving forward. So, we’re hopeful that whether they get to 60 votes when the Senate comes back in September. But just in case they don’t we’re also working with the appropriators, so the agency or the department, sorry the committee that’s actually responsible for the funding of the agencies in the departments from an enforcement standpoint. So, we’ve been working with the Senate and the House spending committees for the EPA’s budget to actually restrict funds or prohibit funds from being utilized to actually enforce the final regulation. The catch here will be is that if the final regulation does go into effect the end of August, we’ve asked for an extension. We’re not certain that we’re gonna get the extension from the EPA and then we’re able to defund their efforts towards the end of September. There will be a one month period where WOTUS will actually be on the books and enforceable from a regulatory standpoint. So, another action that NCBA is very involved with and we’ve actually pooled our producer’s resources, so thank you if you’re a member of the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, because we’ve utilized your membership dollars to actually join other ag groups as well as land owning associations and we’ve also moved forward on a lawsuit. So NCBA is actively engaged in a lawsuit to sue the Environmental Protection Agency over their reach on WOTUS. Another component of this is some of the lobbying techniques that the agency utilized in order to get additional comments to support the agencies proposed rules. So, we’ve got several members of Congress and the House that are engaged in trying to investigate this further. But what’s interesting about D.C. is that you usually can move the ball across the goal line whenever you have a very broad coalition. So within the agriculture community we work very closely together on a lot of these environmental issues. But we’re part of the Water’s Advocacy Coalition that includes other land associations, so National Stone and Gravel, the Professional Golfer’s Association, the Home Builder’s, a very broad group that are actually engaged, many of which in the lawsuit and the litigation as well for the EPA. So again, we’re telling people at the end of August if they have a water that might be WOTUS under the final rule to please reach out to NCBA, KLA or your department from your regulatory standpoint here in the state of Kansas, just to ensure that if you know that is or is not going to be deemed a Water of the U.S. under the final rule and then obviously continue to weigh in with your champions in Congress in both the House and the Senate is always helpful as we move forward with legislation to repeal the final rule all together, which our focus is in the Senate. Or look for ways to defund it from a spending standpoint which those votes will come forward the month of September.

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