Indiana Farm Bureau
June 1, 2016
Statement from Justin Schneider, senior policy advisor and counsel
Indiana Farm Bureau,
Regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that WOTUS determinations are appealable
In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled yesterday that jurisdictional determinations by the Army Corps of Engineers are appealable as final agency actions.
Prior to this ruling, the Corps and EPA asserted that farmers and other landowners could not appeal those decisions. Instead, they asserted that landowners would have to apply for and obtain costly permits prior to appealing. The alternative was that landowners could choose to ignore the determination and face penalties of $37,500 per day if a court upheld the jurisdictional determination.
While this ruling does not impact the current litigation surrounding the new “Waters of the U.S.” rule regarding whether the agencies have exceeded their authority under the Clean Water Act, it does bring needed relief to farmers. Farmers who believe that the EPA and the Corps are erroneously asserting jurisdiction over farming practices and drainage construction and maintenance can get certainty through the legal system about what can be regulated by the federal government.