Coming in rapid procession, a pair of legal rulings this fall injected a measure of common sense in the face of far-reaching governmental power grabs.
In October, recognizing that the U.S. government’s role isn’t to serve as a Big Brother “tip service” to militant anti-agriculture organizations, U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss ruled the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acted properly by scrapping a proposed national database of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
The proposed “Information Rule” would have exceeded EPA authority by targeting all larger farmers and requiring they disclose information regardless of whether or not they had ever violated any regulations. In addition, such a database exposed law-abiding farmers to physical harm or property damage from activists seeking to sabotage livestock operations.
The backlash against the measure — which had frightening implications for farmers of all sizes — was opposed by the House, the Senate and more than two dozen states.
While the final fate of the Waters of the United States remains undetermined, the court properly ruled, “A stay allows for a more deliberate determination whether this exercise of executive power, enabled by Congress and explicated by the Supreme Court, is proper under the dictates of federal law … a stay temporarily silences the whirlwind of confusion that springs from uncertainty about the requirements of the new Rule and whether they will survive legal testing.”
We echo the thoughts of U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan, who summed up the ruling concisely. “The court decision is welcome news for … farmers, small businesses and property owners,” he said.
“The EPA’s overreaching attempt to regulate virtually every puddle and ditch in the country will cost jobs and add to the growing regulatory burden.”
While both rulings likely will face appeal, the current status of the legal proceedings represent a victory for common sense and bio-security. We hope both rulings stand.