Alabama farmers applaud a recent U.S. District Court decision to halt the 2023 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule in 24 states, including Alabama. The April 12 ruling out of North Dakota followed a March 20 court decision to stop implementation in Texas and Idaho.
Alabama Farmers Federation’s Mitt Walker thanked Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall for bringing the suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Marshall and fellow attorneys general filed the suit Feb. 21.
“We appreciate Attorney General Marshall for taking action against the federal government’s blatant regulatory overreach,” said Walker, the Federation’s Governmental & Agricultural Programs Department director. “This ruling is a win in our fight for clear, concise rules based on the knowledge that farmers and landowners are wise stewards of the land.”
The current WOTUS dispute has now spanned three presidential administrations, beginning with President Barack Obama. Marshall praised the courts for halting what he called “the Biden Administration’s latest power grab.”
“While the Clean Water Act granted the federal government important powers to regulate ‘navigable waters’ like rivers, the Biden Administration seeks to claim authority over even isolated ditches and ponds,” Marshall said. “But these local matters are reserved to the states, which are best equipped to manage them. Alabama, its farmers and landowners play a critical role in protecting our dynamic and robust aquatic ecosystems, and managing local waters is their responsibility, not that of a bureaucrat in Washington.”
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said further action is critical.
“With the rule now on hold in more than half the country, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps should do the right thing by listening to our legitimate concerns and rewriting the rule to draw a bright line of jurisdiction,” he said. “The rule creates a fuzzy, subjective assessment that’s unfair to landowners. All we’re asking for is a sensible rule that farmers can interpret without hiring a team of lawyers.”
States impacted by the April 12 ruling are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.