AFBF Disappointed in First WOTUS Roundtable

AFBF's Courtney Briggs is Concerned with Clarity in the Biden Administration's New Definition of WOTUS



AFBF Disappointed in First WOTUS Roundtable


Source: American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF)

May 10, 2022


The Environmental Protection Agency held the first of ten stakeholder meetings regarding changes to the Waters of the U.S. Rule. Micheal Clements tells us the nation’s largest farmer organization is calling for more viewpoints in future roundtables.


Clements: The Environmental Protection Agency’s first WOTUS roundtable Monday didn’t address farmers need for clear rules, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. Courtney Briggs, AFBF senior director of government affairs, says the first roundtable lacked diversity needed to discuss WOTUS.


Briggs: In theory, these meetings are designed to bring folks with different perspectives together to talk about regionally specific implementation concerns pertaining to WOTUS. And the list of participants for this first roundtable was diverse on paper, but we are very concerned about the lack of diversity of experience on the panel. And few of these participants have actually navigated the regulatory process associated with Clean Water Act compliance.


Clements: Briggs says Farm Bureau was disappointed in the results.


Briggs: We were very disappointed. First, I think the credibility of the roundtable was hurt by the lack of any mainstream agricultural representatives at the meeting. Additionally, there was really no meaningful discussion of the law. So, EPA can only make an informed decision if it seeks out and listens to all viewpoints, and we share the goal of clean water that was expressed by many of the participants, but farmers and ranchers need clear rules and this roundtable failed to address how both of those goals can be achieved.


Clements: Briggs adds Farm Bureau will stay engaged in the process.


Briggs: There's ten roundtables, so nine more to come. The next one will take place on May 23. All the other meetings are pretty much concentrated in the month of June, so definitely more to come on this.


Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.


more, including audio [1:30 min]



AFBF's Courtney Briggs is Concerned with Clarity in the Biden Administration's New Definition of WOTUS


Oklahoma Farm Report

11 May 2022


During the National Association of Broadcasters Washington Watch, Farm Director KC Sheperd, caught up with Courtney Briggs, American Farm Bureau Federation’s Senior Director of Congressional Regulations. Sheperd and Briggs talked on the Biden administration’s plan to craft a new definition of Waters of the U.S.


“Right now, we are in the middle of the regulatory process,” Briggs said. “The Biden administration has come in and announced that they will rescind the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule which was the rule that the farmers and ranchers really liked because it provided that clarity and certainty that we have been seeking.”


Unfortunately, Briggs said she believes we are moving in the wrong direction. The Biden administration’s proposal expands the Federal Government’s reach over private property, she added.


“It is bringing back a very troubling test of jurisdiction called the significant nexus test and essentially this is a case-by-case determination that would allow the Army Corps of Engineers to assert jurisdiction over ephemeral features,” Briggs said. “I’m talking about ditches and low spots in a farm field.”


Briggs said Clean Water Act compliance is very important for us to know where that line of jurisdiction is because there are civil and criminal penalties associated with compliance.


“This will determine whether farmers and ranchers need to get permits under the Clean Water Act,” Briggs said...


more, including audio [2:47 min.]