With the national attention focused on the presidential campaign and upcoming election Nov. 8, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told agriculture journalists Tuesday he’s concerned the Obama administration will use its final 100 days to drop more regulations in farmers’ laps.
Grassley said he has been keeping count on the number of regulations put forward by the administration, only to be struck down by courts.
Chief among them is the waters of the United States, or WOTUS, rule currently tied up in the federal court system and unlikely to be resolved until the next presidential administration.
Agriculture interests have fought against the WOTUS rule for years, based on concerns the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expanding its jurisdiction on waters.
And most recently a federal court ruled the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, did not follow federal law in propagating new regulation on anhydrous ammonia.
“I consider this welcomed news, but unfortunately it is one of a string of cases where the court system has intervened to protect farmers,” Grassley said during a teleconference.
“More than 50 times the court has had to intervene because the president didn’t follow the law. Far too often regulations are put in place without fully comprehending the impact of the rule.
“Today with 100 days left in the administration, I hope we don’t have any more surprise regulations as this administration heads for the exits.”
Currently the WOTUS rule is put on hold nationally until a number of legal challenges move through the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District in Cincinnati.
Grassley said he continues to support the Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny Act, or REINS Act. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives in both 2011 and 2013. It would have required both the president and Congress to approve regulations with an economic effect of $100 million or more, before they take effect.
If Democratic nominee for president Hillary Clinton is elected, Grassley said he believes the next administration would continue regulation expansion efforts launched by the Obama administration in the past eight years.
Back in 2013 a Congressional Research Service report found that from 2009 to 2012, the Obama administration published more than 13,000 final rules in the Federal Register. Fewer than 12,400 were finalized from 2005 to 2008.
Todd Neeley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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