Iowa Cattlemen’s Association Responds to WOTUS Implementation

| March 21, 2023

Contact: Jackie Ditsworth, Graphic Designer, Iowa Cattlemen's Association, (515) 296-2266.

On March 19, Judge Brown of the Federal District Court of Southern Texas denied a request for a nationwide preliminary injunction that would’ve halted the implementation of the Biden Administration’s new Waters of the U.S. rule. This request was led by a coalition that included the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

The following statement is from Bob Noble, president of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association: 

“Cattle producers care about protecting our nation’s clean water. To help us steward our land and natural resources, we need clear, commonsense regulations.

“Despite a forthcoming decision from the Supreme Court and the best efforts of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Iowa cattlemen are now required to comply with regulations in the Biden Administration’s new WOTUS rule. The “red tape” in this rule brings even more regulatory uncertainty to farmers and ranchers.

“The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association thanks Reps. Randy Feenstra (IA-04), Ashley Hinson (IA-02), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-01), and Zach Nunn (IA-03) for their votes to overturn this burdensome rule. We know Sens.Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst will continue this fight in the U.S. Senate.”

The Clean Water Act (CWA), written into law in 1972, gives authority to the EPA and Army Corps to define WOTUS through regulation. For more than 50 years, cattle producers have navigated the ebb and flow of WOTUS. We’ve witnessed several rule changes and court decisions since the CWA was implemented, often at the request of the administration at the time.

In December 2022, the EPA and Army Corps finalized a new rule to repeal the Navigable Waters Protection Rule and redefine WOTUS. The timing of this rule was poor, as the Supreme Court is set to issue a decision in Sackett v. EPA this spring. This case considers the EPA’s regulatory authority of navigable waters under the CWA. Instead of waiting for the outcome from the Supreme Court case, the Biden Administration chose to finalize a rule in advance that does not provide the regulatory certainty needed for farmers and ranchers.

We appreciate the agricultural exemptions for some ditches and stock ponds included in this rule. In January 2022, Sparky Wellman provided oral testimony on behalf of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association to the EPA and Army Corps and stressed the importance of these exemptions. However, the rule does not provide clarity regarding isolated and ephemeral features that appear after precipitation events. The EPA intends to make determinations on a case-by-case basis, which means more red tape for landowners.

To learn more about the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s efforts to prevent the implementation of the Biden Administration’s WOTUS rule, visit 

About the Iowa Cattlemen's Association: The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association represents nearly 8,000 beef-producing families and associated companies dedicated to the future of Iowa’s beef industry. ICA’s mission is “Grow Iowa’s beef business through advocacy, leadership and education.”