EPA finalizes steps to repeal WOTUS—one farm group doesn’t like it

WOTUS is drying up.

Even as the Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration took steps this week for removal of the Waters of the U.S. rule fought by Oklahoma’s farm groups and members of congress, some have filed suit challenging the move.

The EPA’s repeal of the Obama-era rules was published in the Federal Register, prompting the first lawsuit to be filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association. The Association is upset because the repeal restores rules from 1986 and guidance from 2008 and it contends the rules are too expansive.

Under the repeal by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, the effort returns the law to provisions in place before 2015. The EPA in the Trump administration argued the Obama-era rulemaking failed to adequately consider the rights of states. It also claimed the 2015 rule did not implement the legal limits on the scope of the agency authority under the Clean Water Act as intended by Congress.

Unless the courts intervene and stop the repeal, the new rules will take effect on Dec. 23, 2019.