Administrator Pruitt discusses repeal of WOTUS with Colorado livestock producers
On Thursday, Mark Frasier, CLA Past President, hosted Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator at his family’s ranch a few miles south of Last Chance, Colorado. Pruitt and his senior counsel, Sarah Greenwalt, and others met with livestock producers representing beef, dairy and swine producers in Eastern Colorado. Several Colorado agriculture stakeholders were also in attendance, including; Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, Don Brown; Morgan County Commissioner, Laura Teague; and representatives from Colorado ag organizations. The focus of the discussion was on the repeal of the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
“Administrator Pruitt was genuinely interested to listen to producers concerns regarding WOTUS and see how regulation impacts the people who manage natural resources, those of us with boots on the ground,” says Mark Frasier, Frasier Farms. “It is refreshing to welcome an administration who appreciates the need for clarity in rulemaking; we look forward to a re-write of the WOTUS rule that can be supported equally by regulators and the regulated community.” Following a discussion and question and answer session Frasier gave a tour of the ranch and discussed with him Colorado livestock producer’s concerns.
Of particular importance to Colorado Livestock Association, whose members are subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act, is the regulatory uncertainty that flows from the 2015 Rule’s lack of clarity on key terms and definitions, such as “adjacent,” “floodplain,” “ordinary high water mark,” and “significant nexus.” Colorado Livestock Association members support Pruitt in his move to repeal the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule and hopes to work with the Administrator on developing a rule that provides water quality protection and is feasible for livestock producers.
Since its introduction in 2015 the WOTUS rule has never been implemented because it was stayed by both a federal district court and a federal court of appeals due to its flaws and violations. Challengers, raised numerous substantive and procedural defects in the rule, including that the rule exceeds EPA’s statutory authority, imposes burdensome regulatory uncertainty, was finalized in violation of mandatory procedural requirements designed to ensure a well-informed result, and is otherwise unlawful. In all, the rule was challenged in multiple courts by all sides (31 states and 53 non-state parties, including environmental groups, state and local governments, farmers, landowners, developers, businesses, and recreation groups).