• USA Rice Attends Codex Food Safety Meeting

    by Deborah Willenborg | Apr 12, 2017
    Food safety with mood lighting
    2017 Brazil-Codex-Mtg
    RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Last week, USA Rice staff and Dr. Steve Linscombe, of the Louisiana State University AgCenter, participated in the eleventh session of the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Food (CCCF).  The CCCF’s role is to identify priority contaminants in foods, set maximum levels for residues in food, and propose best management practices for growing or processing based on available risk and trade impact data.  Contaminants are substances that have not been intentionally added to food but can occur naturally.

    On the agenda for this plenary session was a Proposed Draft Code of Practice for the Prevention and Reduction of Arsenic Contamination in Rice (Code of Practice).  The Code of Practice goal is to give options for agricultural production methods and risk communication to help countries that are above the maximum level for polished rice to identify ways to reduce arsenic levels and prevent further contamination.

    "It’s important to note that U.S.-grown rice is below the maximum level for arsenic,” said Linscombe.  “This Proposed Code of Practice is really aimed at those countries above the level available.  The entire exercise should serve as a reminder to our customers and those concerned about arsenic in rice that the U.S. rice industry continues to lead the world in food safety.”

    The Code of Practice was approved by the CCCF and will now move to the full Codex Commission (CAC) for adoption this summer.  A Code of Practice is non-binding and can be updated as new data becomes available.  

    The Codex Alimentarius, or "Food Code" is a collection of standards, guidelines, and codes of practice that contribute to the safety, quality, and fairness of the international food trade, and CAC is the central part of the United Nations’ Joint Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) Food Standards Program.
  • EPA Delays Compliance Date for New Pesticide Applicator Certification Rule

    by Deborah Willenborg | Mar 22, 2017
    EPA logo
    WASHINGTON, DC -- This week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delayed the compliance deadline for the updated Certification of Pesticide Applicators rule from March 6 until May 22, 2017.  Among other things, the new rule has stricter competency standards for those applying restricted use pesticides and establishes a minimum age for certified applicators.

    EPA decided to delay the implementation in order to give new Agency officials time to review the rule and decide whether they want to pursue a more substantive review.  The notice was published in the Federal Register Monday and USA Rice will continue to monitor any changes EPA proposes to the rule.
  • WOTUS Down the Drain in New Trump Executive Order

    by Deborah Willenborg | Mar 01, 2017
    Glad to see it go
    WOTUS-Down-the-Drain
    WASHINGTON, DC -- On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review the Obama administration's "Waters of the United States" rule (WOTUS), "paving the way for elimination" of the rule.
     
    The rule, issued by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the Obama administration and formally known as the Clean Water Rule, is currently on hold due to legal challenges.  Included in Trump's order are instructions for the attorney general to freeze those courtroom proceedings while the review is underway.
     
    It is unclear how long the review will take and exactly how the process will unfold, but Trump administration officials say an opinion on the case, written by late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, argued that federal jurisdiction extends only to bodies of water with a permanent flow or non-navigable waterways that connect via surface water with areas with permanent flow - definitions with a more limited approach than the Obama EPA established in its WOTUS rule-making.
     
    New EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt spoke at an American Farm Bureau Foundation conference Tuesday after Trump issued the order, and said he already signed the paperwork to begin the review.  

    The executive order is a huge win for agriculture and USA Rice looks forward to working with the new administration on a revision.

  • Pruitt Through Committee Following Rule Suspension

    by Michael Klein | Feb 02, 2017
    Chairman John Barrasso
    Senator Barrasso

    WASHINGTON, DC - Following the strategy of other Senate committees, today Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) suspended rules requiring members of the minority party to be present to establish a quorum so his committee could advance the nomination of President Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

    Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt now moves to the full Senate for a vote. A simple majority is all that is required there, however, no date for the vote has been set yet.

  • Amidst Senate Drama, Trump EPA Designee Remains in Limbo

    by Michael Klein | Feb 01, 2017
    Not yet
    Scott-Pruitt-EPA-Nominee
    WASHINGTON, DC - As decorum breaks down in the Capitol over President Trump's designees and nominees for cabinet, sub-cabinet posts, and now the Supreme Court, his pick for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, was once again, put on hold, by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee during a hearing that was boycotted by Democrat Members of the Committee.

    Arkansas Senator John Boozman and Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker attended the hearing and spoke in support of AG Pruitt's nomination and decried the Democrat boycott of the hearing. Without a minimum of two Members of the minority party present, Committees are unable to achieve a quorum to advance nominees to the full Senate. (Earlier today, the Senate Finance Committee waived those rules to pass out of Committee the nominations of Congressman Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services and Steve Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary.)

    Two weeks ago, at a sometimes contentious hearing on his nomination, AG Pruitt was grilled by a bipartisan group of Senators on his views regarding climate change, ties to "Big Oil" and "Big Gas," ongoing lawsuits against the EPA, and what his agenda as Administrator would look like.

    Today, Committee Chairman Barrasso (R-WY) added that "Pruitt was required to answer more questions than any EPA Administrator nominee in recent history." In total, Pruitt responded to more than 1,200 questions during and after his hearing was initially held.

    Frank Lucas (R-OK), the former chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, said, "Scott Pruitt is a terrific choice to restore common sense and rule of law to the Environmental Protection Agency.  [Pruitt] has stood up to Washington time after time to fight for the conservation of our country's natural resources while protecting the jobs and well-being of American families and workers.  I look forward to working with him on a number of issues to ensure science - not political agendas - guides our nation's environmental policy."

    Last month, USA Rice, along with a number of other agriculture and commodity trade associations and companies, signed a letter of support for Pruitt's confirmation as the EPA Administrator.  He is expected to be approved for the job by the Environment and Public Works Committee and the full Senate, though no schedule for either vote has been announced.
  • SPCC Comes Around Again

    by Deborah Willenborg | Jul 13, 2016
    Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR)
    Rep.-Rick-Crawford-R-AR
    WASHINGTON, DC -- EPA’s Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) Rule for Farms is back in the works again.  Originally finalized several years ago, Congress used the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) in 2014 to mandate a higher exemption threshold of 6,000 gallons from the original 1,320 gallons.  Unfortunately WRDA also contained a provision that threw it back to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a study and then propose a new exemption between 2,500 and 6,000 gallons.  EPA published their study in June 2015 and is setting the new exemption level at the minimum mandated by Congress of 2,500 gallons in a rule which is expected to see interagency review this summer, followed by publication.

    In response, Congressman Rick Crawford (R-AR) included an amendment in the Interior-Environment appropriations bill to solve this issue by prohibiting the EPA from enforcing or implementing the SPCC regulation for farms.  Amendment 70, as it is called, passed by voice vote late last night.  USA Rice is supporting Congressman Crawford in this effort.
  • Lawsuit Could Put an End to Treated Seeds

    by Michael Klein | May 04, 2016
    This doesn't look like a pesticide to us
    Rice Grains
    WASHINGTON, DC -- A disturbing lawsuit, Anderson et al. v. McCarthy et al, has been brought against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in federal court by a number of commercial beekeepers, growers and environmental activist groups for not regulating seeds treated with systemic pesticides as pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). These groups allege that dust from the coated seeds has harmed the environment, including honey bees and birds.


    EPA currently regulates the pesticides used as seed treatments.  A seed may not be treated with a pesticide unless EPA has specifically approved the pesticide for use as a seed treatment on that seed.

    However, seed is regulated by USDA and individual states.  Currently seed bag tags are clearly marked with the active ingredient used in the seed treatment. There are additional requirements for language on the seed tag for neonic-treated seed.  The treated article exemption for treated seed, which is referenced in the lawsuit, is a longstanding policy of EPA. An article is exempt from regulation under FIFRA by virtue of the treated article exemption if the following three conditions are met:

    • the article contains, or is treated with, a pesticide;
    • the pesticide is intended to protect the article itself; and,
    • the pesticide is registered for this use.


    Treated seeds meet all of these requirements
    and thus meet the definition of a treated article.

    “If rice seeds are registered as a pesticide it could put a heavy burden on growers because each planting will be considered a pesticide application,” said Dr. Steve Linscombe, Director of the LSU Ag Center.  “Each farmer could have to register as a pesticide applicator and meet the educational requirements.  In addition, the regulations could easily become overwhelming, basically giving control of planting decisions to EPA as each seed would need to be registered as a pesticide pursuant to FIFRA.  When you potentially incorporate this process into new, incoming regulations including the revised Worker Protection Standards, the Applicator Certification Rule, and WOTUS, you may be seeing the end of treated seeds.”

    While EPA acknowledged in its January 4, 2016 preliminary pollinator assessment for imidacloprid that it posed a low-potential risk to bees when used as a seed treatment, EPA’s response to the lawsuit is unknown at this time.  USA Rice staff and members met with EPA earlier this year on this issue and USA Rice continues to be engaged on the issue and will encourage EPA to mount a vigorous defense against the lawsuit.

  • Federal Rice Grading Standards Up for Review

    by Deborah Willenborg | Mar 22, 2016
    Rice Leadership Class gets a
    rice grading demo at RiceTec
    Rice-Grading-at-RiceTec
    WASHINGTON, DC – This week USA Rice submitted comments for the five-year review of United States Standards for Rough Rice, Brown Rice for Processing, and Milled Rice.  The standards are maintained by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) and facilitate the marketing of rice in foreign and domestic trade, and provide a uniform measure of quality by providing a common language to describe commodity attributes for U.S. producers, exporters, and their customers.

    USA Rice asked the agency to keep the standards as they currently exist without making any changes.  The current standards are widely recognized in international trade and allow for adjustments in milling based on individual contracts with customers.  

    John Morgan, vice president of Louisiana Rice Mill, LLC, and chairman of the USA Rice Millers’ Association’s Industry Standards Committee said, “Current U.S. standards are globally accepted and any ancillary issues are successfully handled on a contract by contract basis.  We appreciate the leeway this gives marketers to customize their product for individual customers’ needs and encouraged GIPSA to maintain current standards.”

    USA Rice comments also noted that while the agency is currently reviewing one specific brand of laboratory sampling equipment, there is an array of other equipment available to evaluate for relevancy in the three main areas of simplicity, repeatability, and removal of human error.

    The U. S. Standards are opened every five to seven years although they are not always revised.  They were last revised in 2002 and appear in the Agriculture Marketing Act of 1946 regulations.  GIPSA will review all public comments before deciding whether to make revisions.
  • Large Turnout at Annual Missouri Rice Conference

    by Lee Brinckley | Feb 18, 2016
    Everything MO needs to know about U.S. rice
    2016-MO-Rice-Conference
    MALDEN, MISSOURI – More than one hundred rice farmers gathered here yesterday for the 2016 Missouri Rice Conference.  This was the first time the conference has been held in Malden and the new location drew a lot of new faces, including many young farmers interested in growing rice.

    The conference agenda featured presentations primarily geared toward ongoing rice research such as furrow irrigated row rice, rice weed control, rice varieties, and production issues.

    Research presenters included:  Dr. Michael Aide, Southeast Missouri State University; Jim Heiser, University of Missouri’s Fisher Delta Research Center; Matt Rhine, University of Missouri’s Fisher Delta Research Center; and Dr. Chuck Wilson, University of Arkansas’ Rice Research Station in Stuttgart.  The U.S. Rice Producers Association also gave an update on domestic and international markets.

    A conference highlight was a visit by Congressman Jason Smith, a Republican from Missouri’s Eighth District.  Smith represents the largest congressional district in Missouri, known as the Bootheel that encompasses the entire rice-growing region of the state.  

    Following his speech, Smith answered questions from the rice farmers in the room.  Smith told attendees, “I’m supporting legislation by Rick Crawford in Arkansas that would remove the barriers to agricultural trade in Cuba.”  He acknowledged the importance of regaining the Cuban rice market and shared his intentions to travel to Cuba sometime this year to learn about the island’s commercial needs.

    Smith also said he supports, “providing food aid through in-kind commodities rather than sending cash to refugee-stricken nations.”  He talked about USA Rice’s involvement in the food aid debate and said he agreed with the position of providing in-kind contributions rather than unaccountable cash transactions.

    USA Rice and the USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited Stewardship Partnership were sponsors of the conference.

  • CME Seeks Rice Industry Response to Rough Rice Futures Contract Survey

    by Lee Brinckley | Feb 11, 2016
    John Owen
    John Owen
    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – The CME Group based here that oversees the trading of the Rough Rice Futures contract has published a short, two-question survey for rice industry members to complete by Monday, February 22.

    The survey is soliciting feedback on two features of the current Rough Rice Futures contract: overnight trading hours and the delivery instrument.  At the industry’s request, CME Group is looking into a move from Warehouse Receipts to Shipping Certificates as the delivery instrument for rice purchased through the futures market.  Additionally, CME Group is looking to potentially reduce night time trading hours to provide traders a better quality of life without dramatically affecting the trading volume.

    John Owen, Louisiana rice farmer and chairman of the USA Rice Futures Contract Working Group, said, “USA Rice’s Working Group has been studying ways to increase the volume of contracts traded and concurrently increase efficiency of the entire trading process.”

    Regarding the survey, Owen said, “I think that a move to Shipping Certificates is a logical step in the right direction to update the contract and improve volume performance and convergence in the contract between cash and futures prices.”

    All members of the rice industry, particularly those with interest in the rice futures market are encouraged to complete the CME Group survey, found here.
  • EPA Update: What’s Best for Pests

    by Lee Brinckley | Feb 01, 2016
    Not so fast, bees
    ga-killer-bees-on-tumblr-160201
    WASHINGTON, DC – Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released their 2014 review of pesticide residue levels on produce, grain, salmon, and infant formula, and found that 99 percent of the samples had residue levels below the EPA limit.  A total of 314 rice samples were taken and none contained residues over the legally established tolerance limit.  View the full report here.

    EPA also opened the 60-day public comment period (ending on March 15) on a preliminary pollinator risk assessment for imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide used in rice and other crops.  This is the first of four preliminary risk assessments for insecticides potentially harmful to bees.

    Stakeholders and members of the public can review the risk assessment and related documents here, and submit comments.  EPA states that all comments submitted will be accounted for in their final risk assessment.  

    “The EPA risk assessments will have a direct effect on the few available neonicotinoids for rice pest control,” said Ben Mosely, USA Rice vice president for government affairs.  “USA Rice staff is closely monitoring the risk assessment process as we prepare our comments for submission to the EPA.”
  • Financing for Cuba Trade OK’d, Ag Left Out

    by Lee Brinckley | Jan 28, 2016
    They also need new banking regulations
    Cuban Cars
    WASHINGTON, DC – This week, the Obama administration announced a new Treasury rule that authorizes additional U.S. exports to Cuba and permits the private financing of these exports in an effort to strengthen trade relations not controlled by the Cuban government.  In a joint announcement with the Secretary of the Treasury, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said the changes are designed to “strengthen civil society” in Cuba.  

    Exports of U.S. food and agriculture to Cuba, which have been permitted in U.S. statute for more than 10 years, were not affected.  Sales of U.S. food and agriculture products to Cuba continue to remain ineligible for direct financing as they “primarily generate revenue for the state.”  For example, all rice imports into Cuba are controlled by ALIMPORT, the government agency that coordinates all overseas purchases and authorizes the import of products to Cuba.  

    “While this announcement is another move towards normalized commercial relations with Cuba, it’s disappointing that U.S. rice farmers and exporters remain hampered by U.S. government regulations and laws that stand in our way of fully meeting Cuba’s import demand for rice,” said Dow Brantley, an Arkansas rice farmer and chairman of USA Rice.

    On February 10, USA Rice will support the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) event commemorating both the coalition’s public launch one year ago and all changes to U.S.-Cuba policy since December 2014.  U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will speak at the event as will two key rice-state allies on Cuba policy, Congressmen Rick Crawford (R-AR) and Ted Poe (R-TX).  A panel of representatives from various agricultural commodity groups, including rice, will discuss our relations at present and the impact access to Cuba could have for U.S. agriculture.
  • AV-1011, Anthraquinone-Based Bird Repellent, Receives EPA Registration for Rice

    by Lee Brinckley | Jan 06, 2016
    Nevermore
    ga-av-1011-receives-epa-registration-crow-160106
    WASHINGTON, DC – This week, in a positive development for the U.S. rice industry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that some underlying issues with the bird repellent Anthraquinone have been resolved, clearing the way for the agency to issue a two-year Section 3 registration for use on rice.  

    This conditional Section 3 registration will allow the product manufacturer to produce one further toxicology study.  Assuming the study shows no health or other issues, a full registration could then be issued.  For now, there is no need for the states to file Section 18 emergency exemption applications with EPA.  (Section 3 is a full Federal registration of a pesticide while a Section 18 exemption authorizes EPA to allow unregistered use of a pesticide for a limited time if the agency determines that an emergency condition exists.)

    AV-1011 is ready for use under its new two-year Federal label, however, the manufacturer must still proceed to acquire state registrations.

    Anthraquinone, a naturally occurring chemical found in many species of plants has been found to meet the requirements for an effective bird repellent as a seed treatment on a variety of crops including sunflowers, trees, and rice.  

    USA Rice has helped states, manufacturers, and members acquire both Section 3 and Section 18 status for a number of products over the last several years, and is working toward an unconditional Section 3 registration for this important product.


  • Rice States Must Begin Section 18 Emergency Exemption Requests for AV-1011

    by Deborah Willenborg | Oct 29, 2015
    Don't delay
    Hitchcock's-The-Birds
    WASHINGTON, DC – Departments of agriculture in states with rice producers affected by bird consumption of rice seed need to begin applying for Section 18 Emergency Exemption Requests for AV-1011 (anthraquinone) bird repellent as soon as possible in order to have approvals from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a timely fashion.  Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) authorizes EPA to allow an unregistered use of a pesticide for a limited time if EPA determines that an emergency condition exists.

    The EPA will have extensive data requests on bird damage from previous years and commercial handlers will need time to treat seeds with AV-1011 before they are delivered to farms.

    USA Rice is working closely with all parties, including EPA, to facilitate the use of AV-1011 by rice growers.
  • Court Rules Nationwide Stay on WOTUS

    by Colleen Klem | Oct 09, 2015
    Stay, WOTUS, stay
    GA-Court Rules Nationwide Stay on WOTUS-151009 

    WASHINGTON, DC -- This morning, by a 2-1 vote, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule nationwide, until it determines whether it has jurisdiction over the petitions for review.  Despite the fact that the ruling is for jurisdictional issues, the majority also found a substantial possibility of success on the merits of the lawsuit in two areas:  the rule does not comport with the U.S Supreme Court's Rapanos's opinion; and, significant changes in the rule, specifically the numeric distance limitations, were never subjected to public notice and comment. Since the 'bright line' of distance limitations from tributaries was  never broached by the EPA and Army Corp of Engineers in the proposed rule a win for agriculture on this merit would allow the rice industry and other agricultural groups to weigh in on this controversial aspect of the rule.

    The decision immediately stays the rule nationwide although EPA has not yet responded publicly if they will adhere to the decision of the three judge panel.  If the agency ceases implementation and enforcement of the rule per the court's decision then the rule is stayed until other actions take place such as the decision being overturned by a higher court or the full court of appeals, or the jurisdiction question is settled and a court takes up the merits of the case.  

  • Final Worker Protection Standards Rule a Litany of Overreach

    by Deborah Willenborg | Sep 29, 2015
    EPA logo
    WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted a pre-publication version of the final Worker Protection Standards (WPS) yesterday and held a multi-agency press conference call to share details.  On the call, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy stated that the rule raised the age of non-family members applying agricultural pesticides from 16 to 18; moved training from every five years to annual; expanded training to include items such as how to not take pesticides home from work; required new recordkeeping to be held for two years; and required farms to follow OSHA standards for fit testing of masks and keeping of medical records.  

    McCarthy said the rule is allied with Environmental Justice concerns to protect minority farmworkers.

    According to McCarthy, these and other requirements will cost farm owners about $400 per year.  McCarthy then thanked federal partners the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who worked on the rule, and the Department of Justice which EPA will collaborate with in the future.  USA Rice submitted 10 pages of comments early in the process that focused on contradictory statements in the rule, issues of apparent privacy violations, a lack of understanding of rural areas, and availability of immediate healthcare facilities, and grossly understated costs of the rule to farm owners.

    In her only nod to public comments, McCarthy stated that pesticide warning signs were not being changed as proposed, thanks to comments from farmworker advocacy groups who liked the current signs.

    Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Thomas Perez echoed the work with EPA and other federal partners on “this law enforcement” issue, citing the need for a safe working environment, justice, and good housing for farm workers and stated that DOL will play an aggressive role in this process with the agricultural community.  He noted the rule also contains a robust anti-retaliation program that aligns with OSHA requirements.

    Perez handed the call off to Arturo Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers who cited their past work in protecting farm workers from pesticides and lauded the whistleblower protections in the new rule.

    The rule is not yet published in the Federal Register but will go into effect 60 days after publication.  Deadline for compliance with the rule will be sometime in the winter of 2016-17.  USA Rice staff will continue to analyze the rule for its impact on rice.


  • North Dakota Court on WOTUS: "Whoa" to EPA

    by Colleen Klem | Aug 28, 2015
    Where will she come down?
     GA-Woe to US Today-150828

    WASHINGTON, DC -- The Clean Water Rule: Definition of Waters of the United States, better known as Waters of the U.S. or WOTUS, has been sidelined by a federal judge in the U.S. District Court of North Dakota who called the measure "exceptionally expansive."   EPA has said they consider the preliminary injunction to only affect the 13 states involved in the lawsuit:  Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.  For all other states, WOTUS will go into effect today as scheduled.

    The North Dakota judge found the rule likely to be arbitrary and capricious and so expansive that it was contrary to the Clean Water Act's grant of jurisdiction.  EPA's argument is that the lawsuit needed to be consolidated in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, where 14 other suits are pending.  In the meantime the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) sent a letter to the agency requesting more time before implementation so state agencies could understand "their duties and obligations," but were rebuffed.   

    "The Clean Water Rule is now in effect in all rice states except Arkansas and Missouri.  Famers and landowners in the states where the regulation applies are advised to consult with State and Local authorities regarding the timeline of implementation and how to avoid regulatory action," said USA Rice Vice President of Government Affairs Ben Mosely.

    "There are still several pieces of legislation that have been introduced and passed out of committees in both the House and the Senate that would restrict or delay the final rule from going into effect," Mosely added.  "Congress will likely consider language in appropriations bills that would also aim to prevent the regulations from being enforced.  USA Rice supports these efforts and will work with our allies in Congress to include a statutory fix in whatever legislative vehicle has the best potential to clear both chambers of Congress."

  • House Kills WOTUS

    by User Not Found | May 14, 2015
    Divining common sense
    Water Diviner
    WASHINGTON, DC -- On Tuesday night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1732, a bill sponsored by Rep. Shuster (R-PA) that would require the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw their controversial Waters of the U.S. proposed rule (WOTUS). It is unsure yet when or if that particular bill will be taken up by the Senate because this bill is just one of several pieces of legislation that would restrict or repeal the reach of the proposed rule.

    “Without filibuster proof votes there is a high likelihood any legislation passed that restricts or repeals WOTUS will be vetoed by the President,” said Ben Mosely, USA Rice vice president of government affairs. “The upcoming FY 2016 Appropriations Bills will be the best chance of limiting or temporarily de-funding the regulation with less risk of a Presidential veto.”

    The EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have indicated that they still plan to release the final rule later this spring or early summer after making a number of revisions to the originally proposed WOTUS rule.