Farmers are praising changes to rules related to endangered species, trucking and water as the Trump administration continues to roll back regulations impacting commerce and private property rights.
Endangered Species Act
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service announced rule revisions to ensure clear, consistent and efficient enforcement of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The rule affirms the ESA’s requirement that listing, delisting or reclassifying a species be based solely on “the best scientific and commercial information.”
The rule change reinstates ESA’s requirement for critical habitat to be where threatened or endangered species are present at the time of listing. Unoccupied areas could only be considered in special circumstances. Additionally, the Fish and Wildlife Service rescinded its “blanket rule,” which gave threatened species the same protections as endangered species.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also announced a proposal to update hours-of-service regulations for commercial vehicle drivers.
The rules would give truckers additional flexibility for taking required breaks and sleeper rest. It would extend mileage and allowed hours of service under the short-haul exception.
Waters of the United States
Farmers also welcomed progress toward repealing the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
A ruling in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia found the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped the Administrative Procedure Act, which lays out the most basic rules governing how agencies propose and establish federal regulations.