FarmPolicy

December 9, 2019

Sen. Inhofe Notes Regulatory Concerns of Farmers, WOTUS Rule

Categories: Regulations

While discussing the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy on the Senate floor yesterday, Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.) noted that, “President Obama is not able to get his liberal agenda through Congress, he has turned to Executive action and to agency rulemaking to implement priorities. These regulations are actually making their way through our courts and are either going to be heard by the Supreme Court or have already been heard by the Supreme Court.”

He added that, “What we are saying is this: The President has a very liberal agenda on almost every social issue, every fiscal issue, every military issue. It is a very liberal agenda. So when the President can’t get things done through legislation, he then turns around and tries to do it through regulation.

“I will give an example. If you talk to the American Farm Bureau right now, they will tell you the greatest problem farmers and ranchers have—I know this because I am from the farm State of Oklahoma—is not anything in the Agriculture bill. It is the overregulation of the EPA. Of all the regulations that are damaging to farmers and ranchers in America, the one they single out as being the worst is the WOTUS rule; that is, the waters of the United States.

“Historically, it has always been in the jurisdiction of the States as to how to control and manage the waters of the United States, except in cases where it is navigable waters. Well, we understand that. We understand that is where the Federal Government should be involved. But 6 years ago there was a lot of legislation and one bill in particular that was offered in the House and the Senate that would take the word ‘navigable’ out. That being the case, that would mean all the waters in a jurisdiction would go from the States to the Federal Government, and we weren’t going to let that happen. But this is what is going on right now. Things they have tried to get passed through legislation and haven’t been able to do, they are trying to do through regulation.

“If the Supreme Court is split 4 to 4 in these two cases I just mentioned, the injunctions of the lower courts will stand until the underlying issues are fully litigated. That is what they are waiting for right now. The Court has said that until the litigation is cleared up, we are not going to act on this rule. Well, as you know, that is going to take a long time for that to happen.”

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