Contact: Laura Campbell, Agricultural Ecology Department Manager
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) finalized rule under the Clean Water Act (CWA) redefines what can be regulated as a Water of the United States (WOTUS) and is a massive overreach that will impact agriculture nationwide.
Michigan's delegated authority over sections of the CWA provides some protection: the Department of Environmental Quality says they believe the wetlands law passed in 2013, PA 98, complies with the CWA. They will continue to enforce the state law rather than change regulations, at least until EPA reviews that law. If EPA decides our law doesn't comply, we could lose our delegated authority and be in the same trouble the rest of the nation.
While H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, passed the House with strong support from Michigan's Congressional delegation, a similar bill, S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, is stalled in the Senate, making a legislative solution difficult. Farm Bureau urges support for S. 1140, to force the withdrawal of this rule and bring EPA back to the table for meaningful discussion with the regulated community.
Both Michigan and American Farm Bureau Federation have joined numerous other states and agricultural, business, and governmental organizations in filing suits against the EPA's rule. While an injunction was granted in one case which temporarily prevents EPA from enforcing the rule while the case is active, the injunction only applies to the 13 states identified in the case. In the meantime, EPA requested consolidation of the cases into one, to be heard by the District Court in Washington, D.C., even though none of the cases were filed in that court.