The American Farm Bureau Federation talked about legislative priorities during its virtual convention as the Biden Administration takes over in Washington, D.C. Agriculture is worried about potential changes to the Clean Water Act, specifically relating to the former Waters of the U.S. Rule first established during the Obama Administration, when Joe Biden was Vice President. American Farm Bureau’s Don Parrish says making changes to the Clean Water Act will be hard to do in Congress.
“The first thing we ought to know is that the 117th Congress is going to be under extremely close margins. The thing I want to emphasize is that we see absolutely no legislative path to amending the Clean Water Act one way or the other. Ultimately, what that’s going to lead to is the Biden Administration taking executive action, and we expect the Biden Administration to have a large number of administrative priorities.”
Parrish talks about what some of those priorities will be over the next four years.
“They want to expand WOTUS. They want to focus a lot on environmental justice for virtually all environmental decisions. They’re also going to focus specifically on issues like nutrients, numeric nutrient criteria, as well as total maximum daily loads. The big wildcard in this administration and this Congress is going to be what the courts do with the Clean Water Act.”
He says the courts are a wildcard when it comes to what clean water policy will look like.
“Currently, there are 14 active cases that are challenging the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. Until January 20th, the Trump Administration will be defending that. We expect the Biden Administration to stop defending it. We also expect them, in all likelihood, to pause litigation as they look at what they’re going to do regarding the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, something that we strongly support. The big question, regarding the court system, is will we see a district court try to take down the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. If the answer to that is yes, then will it be nationwide.”