NCBA Files Lawsuit Challenging New WOTUS Rule

One day after the Environmental Protection Agency formally published its new definition of Waters of the U.S., the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has filed a lawsuit to prevent it from taking effect.  In a statement Thursday morning, NCBA Chief Counsel Mary-Thomas Hart called the new definition, “an attack on farmers and ranchers”, adding that the rule would remove, “longstanding, bipartisan exclusions for small and isolated water features on farms and ranches, and adds to the regulatory burden cattle producers are facing under this administration.”  NCBA noted that the group along with over 1700 cattle producers provided public comment on the new rule last summer, expressing opposition to what they call the Biden Administration’s overly broad definition of WOTUS.

The EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released their rule late last month, which would replace the Navigable Waters Protection Rule established by the Trump Administration in 2019.  With the rule being published Wednesday in the Federal Register, its effective date is March 20, barring a court injunction.  The new rule also comes as the Supreme Court is expected early this year to issue its ruling on a case from Idaho challenging a previous definition of Waters of the U.S.