Another water rule to come

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Imports, however, were almost flat at $ 14.4 billion after hitting $ 14.6 billion in March. That left agriculture with a surplus of $ 189 million, down from $ 774 million in March.

This brings the cumulative U.S. agricultural exports so far in FY2021 to $ 107 billion from imports of $ 91 billion for a surplus of $ 15.7 billion.

For fiscal 2021, the USDA projects that U.S. agricultural exports will total $ 164 billion against imports of $ 141.8 and result in a surplus of $ 22.2 billion. If the USDA forecast is correct, U.S. agricultural exports are expected to average just $ 11.4 billion for the remaining five months of fiscal 2021 and imports $ 10.1 billion.

A decline in imports of this degree would be somewhat surprising as the value of imports has not been so low since September 2017, while U.S. agricultural exports were less than $ 11 billion for the April-July period in 2020.


Washington Insider: Another Water Rule Coming

The EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers will again seek to propose a definition of United States waters (WOTUS) that will replace the Navigable Waters Protection Rule put in place by the Trump administration. But the effort also won’t bring back the Obama-era WOTUS rule that was put in place in 2015.

The EPA has said it will embark on new regulations to generate the new rule after conducting a review of the Trump-era rule. The review, the EPA said, said it was causing “destructive impacts” on “critical water bodies.”

The new regulatory effort, the EPA said, would be based on protecting water resources in accordance with the Clean Water Act, use the latest scientific advances and examine the effects of climate change, create a rule that can be implemented in practice. and would reflect “the experience and contribution received from landowners, the farming community that feeds and nourishes the world, states, tribes, local governments, community organizations, environmental groups, and disadvantaged communities with concerns. in environmental justice.

The EPA promised that there would be “significant stakeholder commitments” to develop the new rule, which would mean listening sessions or public hearings to generate information for the agency to draft the new rule. .

The fact that we are witnessing yet another regulatory process on this matter comes from an executive order signed by President Joe Bident on his first day in office, which ordered the EPA and the military to “review immediately and, where appropriate and in accordance with applicable law, take action to deal with the promulgation of federal regulations [including the Navigable Waters Protection Rule or “NWPR”] and other actions over the past four years that conflict with these important national goals.

While touting the NWPR review, the EPA hasn’t offered much in the way of this review. They noted that the NWPR ensured that several water bodies in New Mexico and Arizona were no longer subject to the provisions of the Clean Water Act and that some 300 projects that were carried out after entry into force. force of the Trump rule were those who would have required type of permit or plan under the WOTUS 2015 rule.

“After reviewing the Navigable Waters Protection Rule as directed by President Biden, the EPA and the Department of the Army have determined that this rule causes significant environmental degradation,” the administrator said. ‘EPA, Michael Regan. “We are committed to establishing a sustainable definition of ‘United States waters’ based on Supreme Court precedents and learning from current and previous regulations, as well as contributions from a wide range of stakeholders. , so that we can better protect our country’s waters, foster economic growth and support thriving communities.

But this is where perhaps the EPA’s most difficult task lies – a lasting rule. Presumably, they probably intend that the rule they finalize after a rule-making process is not challenged in court, as both WOTUS and NWPR were. This will prove to be a tall order for the EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

But the replacement of the Trump-era ruler won’t come immediately. The EPA has indicated that it will initiate a new rulemaking process. This means that we will first see the collection of public information done via public meetings or a request for information via a notice in the Federal Register.

This is followed by the process of developing a notice of regulatory proposal which will also include a public comment period. It will first need to be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Next will come the process of developing a final rule based on comments and comments on the proposed version. Then another OMB review will be done before a final rule is promulgated. In total, this process could take several years.

And even then, it is already expected that, whatever the final rule, there will be legal challenges.

So we’ll see. The EPA clearly has its work cut out for it to develop a rule that is in its terms “sustainable”. But he will also have to pass the rally with the farming community, a constituency that fought the Obama-era plan and so this whole process will need to be watched closely, Washington Insider believes.


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