NCBA Condemns Court Decision Striking Down Navigable Waters Protection Rule

Authored by: NCBA

WASHINGTON (August 31, 2021) — Yesterday, the U.S. District Court in Arizona struck down the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), a regulation that corrected the disastrous 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule and provided key protections to farmers and ranchers.
 
“The Navigable Waters Protection Rule limited federal overreach and provided regulatory certainty to our nation’s cattle producers,” said NCBA Chief Environmental Counsel Scott Yager. “The NWPR was a solution to the far overreaching 2015 WOTUS rule but yesterday’s court decision adds further confusion to an issue that has been complicated by decades of activist-driven litigation. NCBA is disappointed in this decision and will continue advocating for regulations that protect the ability of cattle producers to invest in their land and care for their cattle.”
 
The Biden Administration had previously announced its intent to repeal and replace the NWPR. While NCBA discouraged the repeal of NWPR, the Biden Administration pursued a deliberative, transparent outreach strategy, allowing for American cattle producers to have a voice in the process.
 
Background
 
Earlier this year, the Biden Administration announced their intent to repeal and replace the NWPR. The Administration planned a three-phase process including listening sessions with the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers, a repeal rule for NWPR, and a new WOTUS rule. The first public comment phase began in August and NCBA, state affiliates, and numerous cattle producers submitted comments to the Agencies.
 
Last month, the U.S. District Court in South Carolina dismissed a similar case, which allowed the NWPR to remain in effect until a repeal rule was finalized by the Biden Administration. That decision ensured regulatory certainty for cattle producers while the Biden Administration moved through the rulemaking process. Yesterday’s court decision is the first time a federal court has vacated the NWPR.