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Omnibus Bill Requires Withdrawal of Interpretive Rule Regarding Exempt Agricultural Conservation Practices

Posted Thursday, December 18th, 2014

On December 16, 2014, President Obama signed into law the fiscal year 2015 funding omnibus bill. Legislators included language in the omnibus bill requiring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to withdraw the March 25 interpretative rule regarding the applicability of the Clean Water Act (CWA) exemption for “normal framing, silviculture, and ranching activities.”

The fiscal year 2015 funding omnibus bill immediately withdraws the interpretive rule regarding the applicability of the CWA exemption for “normal farming, silviculture, and ranching activities,” relative to exempt soil and water conservation practices. The bill also contains language blocking the Corps from requiring CWA dredge-and-fill permits for discharges associated with “normal farming, silviculture, and ranching activities” statutorily exempt under 33 U.S.C. § 404(f)(1)(A). Significantly, the bill does not withdraw the proposed jurisdictional rule regarding the term “waters of the United States (WOTUS), defining the scope of waters protected under the CWA, published March 25, 2014.

Please contact Susan Stephens for additional information.

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