Hoeven Working to Support Conservation Priorities for Farmers, Ranchers, Sportsmen

Senator Invites Input for New Farm Bill from Association of Soil Conservation Districts, Outlines Efforts to Rescind the WOTUS Rule

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today told members of the N.D. Association of Soil Conservation Districts (ASCD) that he is working as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Agriculture Appropriations Committee to push for conservation priorities. These include programs like the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) SAFE program, which is a familiar and effective CRP program that maximizes the impact of conservation dollars in a farmer-friendly manner.

Hoeven told the group that their voice is important not only at the local level, but also at the federal level, when lawmakers consider legislation that affects the entire nation. The senator said he’s looking forward to seeing the results of the organization’s 2016 Farm Bill Survey and invited them to submit ideas or concerns directly to him or his office.

“Agriculture and natural resources form the foundation of our economy in North Dakota, which makes commonsense, effective conservation programs a key to our success,” Hoeven said. “As we write the next Farm Bill, and through the annual appropriations process, we want to hear ideas, opinions and issues of importance to you. With the Farm Bill expiring in 2018, we are busy gathering ideas, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what the Farm Bill Conservation Title should look like. ASCD members provide valuable insight because they live and work on the land.”

Hoeven also outlined his efforts to rescind the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule to ensure the management of local waters are put in the hands of the landowners and local governments, rather than the federal government. He said with a new Congress and administration, the WOTUS rule can now be rescinded permanently. Hoeven said there are at least three viable paths to repealing the rule for good:

• The new Congress could rescind it legislatively next year.
• The new administration could work through the rule-making process to rescind it.
• The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is now considering the legality of the rule, could strike it down. If the new administration does not appeal the decision, which is likely, the case won’t go to the Supreme Court and the rule would be invalidated.

Hoeven has worked in his role on the Appropriations Committee to prevent the EPA from implementing the rule in 2016 and 2017. Last week, he and a group of Senate and House members filed an amicus brief in in support of petitions for review filed by 31 states, including North Dakota, and 57 municipal and industry petitioners seeking to overturn the WOTUS Rule. An amicus brief, or “friend of the court” brief, can be filed in order to address concerns and advise the Court on a matter of law that directly affects the case at hand.

“WOTUS has posed a real problem for job creators across our nation, including our farmers and ranchers, and we are now in a strong position to repeal the rule permanently,” said Hoeven.