Rancher says WOTUS injunction is good news but doesn’t provide enough clarity for ag

A Nebraska rancher says she’s frustrated by the lack of clarity surrounding the latest Waters of the United States rule.

Barb Cooksley tells Brownfield Wednesday’s injunction blocking the rule in 24 states is good news for agriculture, but it’s not enough. “It doesn’t matter which administration tries to define it.  It’s the fact that we’re still trying to define it and regulate it makes it hard for not just for cow/calf producers that work directly with the ground but commercial builders (and) farmers.”

She says there’s still plenty of uncertainty and uses digging a water line to provide an additional resource for livestock and wildlife as an example. “Am I now forced to get a permit? Jump through more red tape with more agencies?

And, Cooksley says, the characteristics of navigable waters haven’t changed, but interpretation has. “I guess I’m more simplistic. It’s the creatures of the air, the water and the plants.  They don’t read.  They’re still out there, and they’re going to do what they’re going to do.  We’ve made it so complicated and that’s the uncertainty.”  

She says most producers prioritize sustainability on their operations, and it’s unfair to wait for the legal system to determine how they should manage their resources.

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