LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach said Thursday’s [August 27, 2015] preliminary injunction to block implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency rule to regulate water on private property was a breath of fresh air in a debate that has been heated and frustrating.
U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota ruled that EPA’s plan to greatly expand its regulatory authority over water was inappropriate. “It appears likely that the EPA has violated its Congressional grant of authority in its promulgation of the rule,” he said as part of the ruling. Judge Erickson said the rule suffered from a “fatal defect” of allowing regulation of ditches and streams that were not connected to navigable waters.
“The judge clearly made the right call,” said Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach, a cotton, soybean and corn farmer from Manila (Mississippi County). “I’ve never met the man, but I want to shake his hand. He obviously sees the world with clear eyes and that should be applauded.
“This has not been a debate about how water should be regulated. It has been an effort to see just how far the U.S. citizens would allow a government agency to get into their business. Hopefully, this injunction is the first step toward total dismissal of EPA’s efforts to supersede local and state authority.”
Arkansas will be among 13 states excluded, at least temporarily, from implementation of EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule. In addition to Arkansas, the 13 states included in the injunction are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of more than 190,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.