Nevada leaders have indicated support for a new ruling ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to stop with the Waters of the U.S. plans.
The leaders include Governor Brian Sandoval and Nevada Farm Bureau president Hank Combs, who praised the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota.
A press release last week from the Nevada Farm Bureau Federation, the state’s largest, general agriculture organization stated, “We applaud the court’s decision to stop EPA’s WOTUS rule and Governor Brian Sandoval’s support of Chief Judge Erickson’s order. The overreach of the WOTUS rule places unclear and unnecessary regulation upon the farmers and ranchers in Nevada and across the United States.”
The press release also said, “Judge Erickson found strong evidence that the EPA was arbitrary and capricious in its rulemaking and saw no connection between key provisions of the rule and science that was presented to support it.”
Lincoln County Commission chair Kevin Phillips said he was very pleased with action by the state and the North Dakota judge. “Anything we can do to stop this expansive water grab by the government should be done. If the governor and Attorney General Laxalt know this is one of several possible ways to make that happen, we should be in favor of it. I’m happy that the governor and our leading state officials are taking a hard stand in being proactive in trying to kill this nonsense.”
Local farmer and county commission member Paul Mathews agreed that the EPA is attempting an “extreme overreach of their powers to infringe on states rights.”
The EPA, in opposing the injunction, has said it is only effective in the 13 western states involved in a current lawsuit. The ruling stands, according to the EPA, in all other states.
Combs said, “This position leaves many of our nation’s agriculturists uncertain about which common farming and ranching practices they can complete without facing large fines and legal risk. We believe this order should apply to all states, forcing the EPA to reevaluate the WOTUS rule and its harmful consequences.”
Mathews said if the EPA plan were upheld, it would be cumbersome with all of the permitting farmers and ranchers would have to go through. “It would hurt cattlemen because of their stock watering ponds, and anything they use to retain water for cattle use would have to be permitted through the EPA and the Corp of Engineers, whereas right now, it doesn’t have to be. But if allowed, then a whole new set of laws and permits would have to be followed. A lot more bureaucracy and layers of government.”
He said it used to be just navigable waters were waters of the U.S., “then it was tributaries to navigable waters, and now it’s any wash or stream that could potentially feed water to any river or stream.” He added, “We have not been affected by this in Nevada before, because we really don’t have much in the way of navigable rivers or waters. But the way EPA is trying to force it now, it would involve even dry washes, anything where water could potentially run, any surface water.”
Governor Sandoval’s office issued the following statement, “I am encouraged by the court’s decision to issue a preliminary injunction against the Environmental Protection Agency’s expansion of the Clean Water Act. The court’s decision illustrates that the EPA’s proposed rule poses irreparable harm to the state of Nevada and warrants immediate court intervention. Nevada continues to collaborate with the federal government on issues ranging from sage-grouse management to land conveyances, as demonstrated just this week in Yerington. However, on issues pertaining to intrastate water resource conservation and management, ultimate regulatory authority belongs with the state of Nevada.”