By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit this morning issued a temporary stay of the EPA and Corps of Engineers “Waters of the U.S.” rule nationwide.  The stay will likely be temporary until the court determines whether it has jurisdiction over the petitions for review. 

“This EPA rule is so egregious that it would be difficult for any court to brush it aside,” said Arizona Farm Bureau’s First Vice President Stefanie Smallhouse, a rancher in southern Arizona.   “The EPA violated so many procedural rules while crafting it, not to mention it is simply illogical. It’s just unfortunate that so much money will be spent fighting it when the case against it is simply common sense.”

Arizona Farm Bureau President Kevin Rogers agrees. "We are glad the court understands the issue," Rogers said. This rule goes above and beyond the legal reach of EPA. With this stay, American citizens have a chance to get this rule thrown out or at least get a fresh start with the process."

 “A federal court today ordered the EPA to stop enforcement nationwide of the Waters of the United States rule,” said American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman. “The American Farm Bureau Federation is pleased the Sixth Circuit recognizes that this rule has serious flaws and cannot go forward until the courts have had an opportunity to understand its effect on farmers, ranchers and landowners of all kinds.”

The new rule cannot be enforced by the Corps or EPA. The stay is applicable nationwide and will remain in effect until that court rules on whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case.

This is a strong signal that this rule is unlawful and would impose intolerable burdens on the states and the public. State Farm Bureaus are reminded that this action is only a temporary reprieve, and getting to a final court ruling will take years, at great cost to all involved--so Congress should send EPA back to the drafting board with S. 1140. 

“The judges expressed deep concerns over the basic legality of this rule,” added Stallman. “We’re not in the least surprised: This is the worst EPA order we have seen since the agency was established more than 40 years ago. The court clearly understood our arguments.

“We are confident that the courts will strike down this rule. Unfortunately, we also know stays don’t last forever, and cases like this almost always take years to win. So we again ask the Senate to pass legislation to nullify this rule just as the House has already done. Farmers and ranchers cannot afford to wait.”

Arizona’s Smallhouse, who testified before Arizona’s Congressional delegation earlier this year and also went on national television to speak about the rule, also believes the courts will strike down the rule. “This is about the future of agriculture in this country. This is about our livelihoods.”

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