Many Agricultural Groups Commend SCOTUS Ruling on WOTUS

Dan Agri-Business, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), Beef, Cattle, Corn, Dairy, Environment, Field Crops, Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA), Legislative, Livestock, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), Pork, Regulation, Water, WOTUS Act


Many agricultural groups are applauding the U.S. Supreme Court for their ruling in the Sackett v. EPA case.

The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) President and CEO Daren Coppock issued the following statement:

“All of agriculture has been waiting for this ruling on defining Waters of the United States (WOTUS). The Court stated that the wetland under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act (CWA) must have ‘a continuous surface connection with that water,’ making it difficult to determine where the water ends and the wetland begins.

The decision finally restores common sense back into WOTUS regulation. Hopefully it lays to rest efforts by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to extend CWA jurisdiction well beyond Congressional intent.

When EPA issued their WOTUS rule earlier this year, ARA remarked the decision was premature with a Supreme Court ruling pending and would likely result in wasted effort. This prediction has now proven true.

The Court’s ruling today should provide the legal certainly necessary for ag retailers and their farmer customers. The EPA needs to expeditiously update the WOTUS regulation according to the clear ruling issued by the Supreme Court.”


Supreme Court Reaffirms Limits of Clean Water Rule

(AFBF/WASHINGTON/May 25, 2023)American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented today on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Sackett v. EPA.

“AFBF appreciates the Supreme Court justices for their careful consideration of the implications of Sackett v. EPA. The EPA clearly overstepped its authority under the Clean Water Act by restricting private property owners from developing their land despite being far from the nearest navigable water.

“The justices respect private property rights. It’s now time for the Biden administration to do the same and rewrite the Waters of the United States Rule. Farmers and ranchers share the goal of protecting the resources they’re entrusted with, but they deserve a rule that provides clarity and doesn’t require a team of attorneys to properly care for their land.”

American Farm Bureau Federation

Cattle Producers Rejoice in Supreme Court Ruling on WOTUS Case

Unanimous Decision in Sackett v. EPA Narrows Scope and Regulatory Burden of the Clean Water Act

(NCBA/WASHINGTON/May 25, 2023) — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the Sackett family in Sackett v. EPA – the court’s most recent consideration of which features are subject to federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction. In its holding, the court soundly rejected the contentious “significant nexus” test. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) strongly supports this ruling and is currently engaged in a litigation against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the Biden Administration’s WOTUS definition. 

“Cattle producers across the country can breathe a sigh of relief today. Since EPA’s adoption of the “significant nexus” test, cattle producers have had to retain costly legal services to determine if water features on their property are federally jurisdictional,” said Todd Wilkinson, South Dakota cattle producer and President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “Today’s Supreme Court opinion refocuses the Clean Water Act on protecting our water resource through regulatory clarity. We look forward to working with the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as they implement the Court’s new Continuous Surface Connection standard.”   

NCBA submitted an amicus brief in the Sackett case, encouraging elimination of the Significant Nexus test in exchange for a more practical standard. “In its brief to the Court, NCBA highlighted the unconstitutionality of imposing criminal penalties for violations of vague standards under the Clean Water Act. The Court recognized and reversed the Significant Nexus test, in part due to the constitutional due process risk that it created,” said Mary-Thomas Hart, Chief Counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. 

NCBA has been heavily involved in litigation surrounding the WOTUS rule since 2015. NCBA filed suit against the Obama-era WOTUS definition, defended the Trump-era definition that brought more clarity to what water features are included under WOTUS, and filed suit against the Biden administration’s WOTUS rule that did not include critical agricultural exemptions.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

Commissioner Tyler Harper Applauds SCOTUS Ruling in Sackett v. EPA

(GDA/Atlanta, GA/May 25, 2023) — Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper issued the following statement on the United States Supreme Court ruling in Sackett v. EPA. The ruling against the EPA narrows the scope of the agency’s jurisdiction over Waters of the United States (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling in Sackett v. EPA today is an important victory for Georgia farmers, producers, and consumers and against unconstitutional overreach by the federal government” said Commissioner Tyler Harper. “For too long, the Clean Water Act has been used as a political tool to infringe on our agriculture industry, leaving farmers, producers, and property owners at the mercy of the federal government. Today’s ruling represents a significant victory for private property rights and our state’s number one industry, and I am confident that our farmers and producers will continue to safeguard our state’s natural resources while working around the clock to provide the food, fiber and shelter we all depend on.”

Georgia Department of Agriculture

SCOTUS decision in Sackett v. EPA clarifies states’ authority and brings hope of regulatory certainty for farmers

Press Release

(NASDA/ARLINGTON, VA/May 25, 2023) — In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Sackett v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture CEO Ted McKinney shares its impact on states, farmers and NASDA’s next steps.

“The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Sackett v. EPA today comes as welcome news to farmers, landowners and state departments of agriculture who sought clarity on what has been an over-litigated issue for decades,” McKinney said. “We take relief in this decision as the justices clearly state the ‘significant nexus theory is particularly implausible’ and the EPA has no statutory basis to impose the standard.

In his opinion, Justice Alito also recognizes the limits of federal jurisdiction, and in doing so, acknowledges “Regulation of land and water use lies at the core of traditional state authority.”

“Today’s ruling proves that protecting our nation’s waterways and growing food, fiber and fuel are two tandem efforts – not two competing interests,” McKinney said. “There is, however, still work to be done to ensure farmers and ranchers are equipped to best care for their land while following applicable federal or state requirements.”

NASDA turns to EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue a revised version of their prematurely released WOTUS rule. Going against volumes of stakeholder input, EPA and the Corps issued a WOTUS rulemaking before today’s SCOTUS decision, which now renders portions of the agency’s final WOTUS rule moot.

Looking forward, NASDA will continue to work with EPA, the Corps and NASDA members to update and implement a regulatory framework that better reflects the needs of state agriculture departments, farmers, ranchers and all the communities they serve.

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture

NCGA Applauds Supreme Court WOTUS Decision

(NCGA/CHESTERFIELD, MO/May 25, 2023) — The U.S. Supreme Court today handed a huge win to landowners, including farmers, in a case involving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s jurisdiction over Waters of the United States, often referred to as WOTUS.

The National Corn Growers Association applauded the decision.

“This sensible ruling preserves protections for our nation’s valuable water resources while providing clarity to farmers and others about the process of determining federal jurisdiction over wetlands,” said NCGA President Tom Haag. “This is a great day for corn growers.”

In the decision, the court narrowed the scope of the Clean Water Act’s jurisdiction by clearly rejecting the vague “significant nexus test,” upending the Biden administration’s overreaching WOTUS rule.

A 5-4 majority on the court issued an opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, that significantly narrowed the definition of adjacent wetlands, saying that to be adjacent and therefore a WOTUS, the wetland must have a continuous surface connection to a relatively permanent body of water connected to a traditional navigable water. The four-justice minority disagreed in an opinion, written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, saying that a continuous surface connection test is too narrow, and overturns decades of precedent followed by both Republican and Democratic administrations.

NCGA, which has long said that EPA’s broad definition of WOTUS creates pervasive uncertainty and confusion for the agricultural community and farmers trying to manage land they own and operate, has spoken out forcefully on the issue and joined other agricultural groups in filing an amicus brief as the Supreme Court considered the case.

EPA is now expected to issue a revised WOTUS rule, since its current rule relies heavily on the significant nexus test.

By Bryan Goodman, National Corn Growers Association

Pork Producers Celebrate SCOTUS Ruling on WOTUS

“The Supreme Court’s historical decision to define the limits of EPA authority under the Clean Water Act is a tremendous victory for America’s pork producers who have played a leading role for almost two decades in opposing the agency’s heavy-handed efforts to micromanage our farms. This ruling is a clear punctuation point after decades of attempts by activists and the EPA to expand the federal government’s power and control over private land. Farmers are the originators of conservation and are taught the key to preservation is to protect our natural resources. We can now proceed with certainty to use all our conservation assets to best farm our land so we can deliver healthy food to our customers for generations to come.”

– Duane Stateler, National Pork Producers Council vice president and Ohio pork producer