Ranchers concerns avoided as states block water management legislation

By Chloe Ryan

- Last updated on GMT

Producers of US beef cattle welcomed the latest ruling
Producers of US beef cattle welcomed the latest ruling

Related tags: United states, U.s. state, Beef

A federal court ruling in North Dakota will partially block the implementation of the controversial  ‘Waters of the United States’ rule, which had been due to become law today.

The hotly contested WOTUS​ rule would have given the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps authority over all waterways.

It would have meant landowners, farmers, ranchers and local governments would require additional permits for projects and uses affecting tributaries, wetlands, ponds, lakes and even ditches.

The latest decision means the rule will only become law in certain states. North Dakota, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming and New Mexico have demonstrated they will face irreparable harm if the rule were implemented and so are exempt.

Long disputed

Organisations including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) have long disputed the rule, claiming it was federal overreach. In addition, 29 states launched legal bids to have the rule thrown out, claiming it would infringe on their sovereignty.

In a statement, NCBA President Philip Ellis welcomed the federal court ruling. “America’s cattlemen and women applaud the decision of the federal judge in North Dakota to block EPA’s waters of the United States rule.

“EPA’s rule is nothing more than an attempt to put more land and water under federal jurisdiction, blatantly disregarding private property rights.

‘Ludicrous’

“Over the last year and a half, the agency continually ignored the concerns of the US Army Corps of Engineers, farmers, ranchers and landowners across the country, to the point of calling the concerns of cattle producers ludicrous.

In a statement released shortly after the decision was made, an EPA spokesperson said the North Dakota ruling only holds for 13 states that applied for the injunction and that they plan to implement the rule in all others on Friday. “In all other respects, the rule is effective on 28 August,” ​EPA said in a statement.

Related topics: Meat

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