Politics was likely behind the Biden Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to issue its Waters of the U.S. rule ahead of a pending Supreme Court opinion expected to better define a Waters of the U.S. An American Farm Bureau official says Capitol Hill lawmakers, lobbyists, farm groups, and producers have been asking for weeks why EPA issued its WOTUS rule in December months ahead of a Supreme Court opinion in Sackett vs. EPA—the case likely to clarify the test for a Water of the US.
American Farm Bureau Senior Director of Government Affairs Courtney Briggs was asked what many have been thinking privately. “Well, I do think that this was a commitment that the Biden Administration made to the environmental community. It does defy logic that they’ve moved forward with this rule. I think one can conclude that it’s to appease the environmentalists.”
EPA chief Michael Regan claimed to lawmakers his jumping ahead of the High Court was to save time since much of the rule doesn’t deal with WOTUS and won’t have to be rewritten. That’s a claim Briggs disputes with WOTUS the cornerstone of the rule.
Briggs also says the Supreme Court could rule in Sackett much sooner than thought. “I would even say that it’s a few weeks before we’ll see a decision from the High Court in Sackett vs. the EPA. And we have been quite critical, for some time now, that the agencies have moved forward with this regulatory action in light of the roadmap on, essentially, a cornerstone of their rulemaking, handing down a decision that provides a roadmap on using the regulatory test.”
AFBF has taken an especially strong view against the Biden EPA rule. President Zippy Duvall, in a statement after President Biden vetoed a House-Senate Resolution to scuttle the rule, said, “Mr. President, you let us down.”