Industry Groups Ask Court to Overturn WOTUS

Kelly Marshall

AFBF The American Farm Bureau Federation and many other organizations and businesses have asked a federal court to overrule the EPA and Army Corps of Engineer’s “Waters of the United States”. The submitted brief outlines many allegations in detail and describes a year’s worth of litigation involving the rule’s overreach.

The coalition’s brief explains how EPA flouted important procedural safeguards designed to ensure a fair and thoughtful rulemaking process. EPA tactics included withholding key documents until after the public comment period had closed, ignoring and ridiculing critical public comments and issuing illegal “covert propaganda” in an effort to generate superficial public support for the rule.

“EPA set out to achieve a predetermined outcome and then manipulated the public notice-and-comment process to achieve that outcome,” AFBF General Counsel Ellen Steen said. “It treated the rulemaking process like a game to be won instead of a deliberative process for developing lawful and reasonable regulations.”

The groups also cover how WOTUS violates the limits of the Constitution and the Clean Water Act and explain how the rule relies on vague terms to define “navigable waters.” The brief shows how no fair public notice has been given to describe to the public what features are covered in the rule.

“Regulators can reach any outcome they please, and regulated entities cannot know the outcome until they are already exposed to criminal liability, including crushing fines,” the brief states.

The coalition asks the federal court to strike the rule in its entirety.

AFBF, Ag Group, EPA, Water