Contact: Laura Campbell, Agricultural Ecology Department Manager
This picture from the Nov. 1 brief shows how WOTUS could be used to determine that runoff down a logging road can create a regulated “tributary” under the rule.
The U.S. 6th Circuit makes the rules for cases in its Court, and the Court’s rule was: all agriculture, business, and municipal groups must file one brief together, explaining their arguments for why they want the Court to ditch the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. The states opposing WOTUS, activists wanting WOTUS to reach even further, and the federal agencies defending WOTUS will file their briefs over the next several months.
Even with this restriction, the concerns of Michigan farmers shone through. The brief, filed November 1 on behalf of nearly 60 petitioners including Michigan Farm Bureau, lays out how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) illegally pushed the WOTUS rule forward, and what burdens and uncertainty farmers will face under the new WOTUS rule:
In the meantime, the Court’s temporary stay that bars the WOTUS rule nationwide is still in effect while the case is being considered.
The U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released the results of a two-year investigation on October 27, detailing how EPA failed to follow the procedures of rulemaking when it developed the WOTUS rule, ignored fellow agencies’ concerns, cut short public comment, and let political goals and timelines drive the WOTUS rule’s development.
This follows a report released in December 2015 by the federal Government Accountability Office finding that EPA used illegal lobbying and funding tactics to push for support of the WOTUS rule. So far EPA has faced no consequences from their actions.
Current state law regulates lakes and wetlands over five acres, rivers and streams with definite bed, banks, and high water mark, and waters within 500 feet of a regulated lake or stream. This rule expands regulated waters in two ways:
Click here for our complete summary of what is regulated and what is not regulated within the final EPA Waters of the U.S. rule.