For years, the legal specialists at ALEI have blogged about the twists and turns in the legal saga of the Clean Water Act (CWA) “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule. For a quick review on the WOTUS rule, check out this past post, and for more information, type WOTUS into the search feature of this blog. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created the WOTUS rule to clear up confusion over the jurisdictional scope of the Clean Water Act. Opponents say the WOTUS rule is a regulatory overreach, unconstitutional, and inconsistent with legal precedent.Read More
Today I am going to jump back a few years and talk about a case decided back in 2014. Some of you may recall the Alt v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lawsuit but for those of you who do not, or need a refresher, I am revisiting what that important court decision means to animal feeding operations and its implications for the Clean Water Act (CWA).Read More
This case all started because Hawkes Co., Inc. (Hawkes) was interested in purchasing a piece of land in northern Minnesota to mine high-quality peat. What is peat? I was wondering the same thing! Peat moss is used in agriculture, horticulture, and forestry. Peat is a brown, soil-like material consisting of partly decomposed vegetable matter, used mainly in horticulture as a growing medium. It stimulates plant growth by improving seepage and root development, increasing soil buffering, and preventing the leaching of nutrients.Read More
Using the ninth veto of his presidency, President Obama vetoed the congressional resolution meant to void the EPA's “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule redefining the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.
“Because this resolution seeks to block the progress represented by this rule and deny businesses and communities the regulatory certainty and clarity needed to invest in projects that rely on clean water, I cannot support it,” Obama said in his veto message.
Supporters of the resolution were unable to assembly a veto-proof, two-thirds majority in either the House and Senate.
The WOTUS rule took effect last August, but courts have put it on hold nationwide while legal challenges are considered.
If you wish to read our previous posts on the WOTUS rule use “WOTUS” as a search term for this blog.
On July 29, 2015, the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals decision regarding Reichmann Land and Cattle, LLP (RLC) not being an “animal feeding operation” as defined by 40 C.F.R. § 122.23(b)(1) (2014) and is not required to obtain an national-pollutant-discharge-elimination-system permit (NPDES permit) as a result. However, the court did find that RLC did not meet the “pasture” exemption under the Minnesota statute and is required to obtain a state-disposal-system permit (SDS permit).Read More
Recently, Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) introduced a bipartisan bill entitled The Federal Water Quality Protection Act which would require the EPA to withdraw the WOTUS rule, currently in its final stages, and refocus EPA’s efforts on protecting navigable waters. The Federal Water Quality Protection Act requires the EPA and Army Corps to withdraw the rule and re-write their proposal with consideration of stakeholders and review of economic and small business input. The bill also requires EPA to adhere to definitions included in the bill, specifically limiting the reach of a new rule, and requires a comment period on the revised proposed rule of no less than 120 days, with a final rule published no later than Dec. 31, 2016.Read More
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the agriculture community do not always see eye-to-eye. Currently, the ag community is speaking out over EPA’s proposed change in the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) “Waters of the U.S.” definition (for more details see here). Prior to that, many in the ag community did not agree with EPA’s Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule for agriculture. The disagreement over the SPCC rule lasted till Congress stepped in this year in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014, which clarifies how EPA should apply the SPCC rule to the nation’s farms.Read More