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EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on a farm tour in Rocheport, Mo., in 2014 (File: Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media)
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on a farm tour in Rocheport, Mo., in 2014 (File: Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media)

To the chagrin of some of the nation’s largest farm organizations, the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday forged ahead with a plan to oversee more of the nation’s waterways, saying it will enforce new pollution rules in all but 13 states covered by an ongoing court case.

On the day the so-called “Waters of the U.S.” rules, or WOTUS, were set to go into effect, the EPA stuck to the deadline, despite a court order issued late Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson put a temporary hold on the rule late Thursday, siding with the 13 states who sued the EPA saying the federal agency was overstepping its authority. Erickson’s ruling means the rules are on hold in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks to reporters while on a farm tour in Rocheport, Mo., in 2014. (File: Kris Husted/Harvest Public Media)
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks to reporters while on a farm tour in Rocheport, Mo., in 2014. (File: Kris Husted/Harvest Public Media)

Some of the nation’s largest farm groups are cheering after a federal judge blocked implementation Thursday of new rules governing water pollution.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson issued a preliminary injunction delaying the rules, which had been set to take effect Friday, saying that the Environmental Protection Agency had overstepped its bounds. Thirteen states sued the agency, seeking to prevent implementation, and Erickson said the “states are likely to succeed in their claim.”

The rules, which grant the EPA authority over some streams and tributaries under the Clean Water Act, are known as the “Waters of the U.S.” rules, or WOTUS. Some in Farm Country have seen them as a federal power grab.

An ear of corn in a testing laboratory at Monsanto's research campus in Chesterfield, Missouri. (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)
An ear of corn in a testing laboratory at Monsanto's research campus in Chesterfield, Missouri. (Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media)

Breaking up is a hard thing to do. It’s even harder when you’re a publicly traded, multinational seed or chemical conglomerate.

Monsanto, the St. Louis-based seed company that produces the widely-used herbicide RoundUp, had to learn that lesson the hard way. The world’s largest seed company announced Wednesday that after months of wooing, it’s no longer pursuing Switzerland-based Syngenta, the world’s largest producer of farm chemicals.

The courtship began in early summer 2015 when Monsanto made an initial bid to purchase Syngenta’s chemical operations. It hoped to combine the chemical arm with Monsanto’s seed business under a new entity based in London. That company also would have sported a new name and been a powerhouse in the world of agricultural inputs, the things farmers buy to run their operations: seed, fertilizer, pesticides.

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