Senate votes to overturn Biden’s ‘waters of the United States’ rule
The Senate joined the House on Wednesday in voting to overturn the Biden administration’s “waters of the United States” regulation, which spells out the upstream reach of water pollution laws. The White House said earlier this month that President Biden would veto the Republican-sponsored resolution of disapproval if it reached his desk.
The Army Corps’ $50 million Mississippi River restoration project
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a new Mississippi River restoration project, starting with a 39-mile stretch near Memphis, Tennessee, that could help save threatened and endangered aquatic animals. The agency still needs to secure $50 million in funding.(No paywall)
Republicans try congressional path to repeal WOTUS
In a long-shot tactic, Republicans in the Senate and House pressed on Thursday for a vote to overturn the Biden administration’s Waters of the United States rule, which spells out the upstream reach of water pollution laws. It was the third WOTUS rule to be issued in less than a decade. The Supreme Court is expected to rule in coming weeks on an Idaho case that would greatly limit federal protection of wetlands.
Lawsuit asks court to void Biden administration clean water rule
Seventeen farm, construction, and mining groups filed suit in federal court to overturn the Biden administration’s definition of the upstream reach of water pollution laws. They argued that the new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule was “so opaque, uncertain, and all-encompassing” that no one could confidently know its limits.
Biden administration defines upstream reach of clean water laws
Stepping ahead of a pending Supreme Court ruling, the Biden administration spelled out through a new regulation the upstream reach of water pollution laws, saying it would assure safe drinking water for Americans "while supporting agriculture, local economies and downstream communities." Farm and home-builder groups, who helped stall an Obama-era definition of the "waters of the United States" (WOTUS), said the Biden WOTUS rule also was a regulatory nightmare built on murky interpretations of the law.
Supreme Court hears case to limit Clean Water Act
The Supreme Court should restrict federal regulation of wetlands to marshy areas with a surface connection to a waterway — a dramatic reduction in coverage but a standard that would be easier to understand than the "significant nexus" test now in use, said a lawyer for the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation on Monday. Two justices said the court's decision, in a case involving a home site in Idaho, could rewrite wetlands regulations nationwide.
Study: Southeast’s peat bogs have carbon storage superpowers
Rewetting drained coastal evergreen shrub bogs in the Southeast that were once used for farming could make a small but significant contribution to reducing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, according to a recent study. The bogs, known as pocosins, can absorb and hold extraordinary amounts of CO2 because they contain antimicrobial compounds called phenolics that prevent the waterlogged peat from decaying rapidly, even during times of drought.
Deluge of rain won’t end California farmers’ water woes
After a near-record year of drought, California received some relief this week from torrential rains, the result of an atmospheric river hitting a bomb cyclone. The storms snuffed out the Dixie Fire, which has been burning in the northern Sierras since July, and put an end to Northern California’s grueling fire season. What the rains didn't do was end the drought — or the water restrictions faced by many of the state's farmers. (No paywall)
Biden administration will replace Trump clean water rule
Shortly after telling senators that he wanted a "long-term, durable solution," EPA administrator Michael Regan said on Wednesday that the Biden administration would write a new definition of the upstream reach of clean water laws. The process would include repeal of the 2020 Trump-era rule that replaced 2015 Obama water regulations the farm sector decried as federal overreach.
At Trump’s direction, U.S. reduces upstream reach of clean water law
Decrying what it called regulatory overreach, the Trump administration announced on Thursday that it will limit enforcement of clean water laws to oceans, rivers, core tributaries, and adjacent wetlands. Environmentalists said the move would leave half of U.S. wetlands and millions of miles of streams without protection from pollution.
Trump announces plan to roll back WOTUS rule
President Trump announced a plan to roll back Obama-era clean water regulations that aimed to protect rivers and streams from agricultural runoff and other pollutants. It will remove vast wetlands and thousands of miles of waterways from federal protection.
FERN Q&A: Beaver-created wetlands could be a farmer’s best friend
In his new book, Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, FERN contributor Ben Goldfarb makes the case that this widely vilified rodent, which was trapped nearly out of existence in the U.S., is not only making a comeback but could play a major role in mitigating the effects of climate change and other problems afflicting farmers. (No paywall)
Wisconsin Republicans push for wetlands deregulation
In Wisconsin, legislation is moving through the statehouse that would roll back the state’s wetlands development regulations, according to The Cap Times. The bill was proposed by Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke and in its original form proposed opening up one million acres of wetlands to development.
A computer game balances farm production with green goals
Now in its third version, an online game developed by Iowa State University lets students learn about land-use concepts by mixing crops and conservation practices on a simulated 6,000-acre watershed, says Wallaces Farmer magazine. Professor Lisa Schulte-Moore, leader of the team that developed the game, People in Ecosystems Watershed Integration (PEWi), says the new version has more options than previous editions.
California farmer to pay million-dollar fine in wetlands case
John Duarte, a Northern California farmer, has agreed to pay a $1.1 million penalty to settle a years-long case that started in 2012, after he bought and tilled fallow land within a federally protected wetland.
The Everglades struggles, sugar industry thrives
Fifteen years after an agreement by Florida and federal officials to revive the Everglades, "billions of dollars have been spent but not much marsh has recovered," says the Miami Herald. "But a review of the key decision points by Florida policymakers over the last two decades shows that one key player in the fate of the Everglades has grown healthier and stronger: Big Sugar."